The risk of getting breast cancer increases as women get older, as Dorset has the highest life expectancy in the UK this in itself poses a risk. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.

Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and every year, nearly a third of new cancers diagnosed in women are breast cancer. Up and down the country that equates to 53,000 reported cases of breast cancer each year. The majority of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.

Tony Skene, Consultant Breast Cancer Surgeon at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, said: “The risk is very much age related. Whilst most people are living longer, the risk of developing breast and other cancers is naturally increasing.”

East Dorset has the highest life expectancy in the UK at an average age of 82.9 years for women, and Purbeck has the highest life expectancy for both genders, at an average age of 86.6 years. Tony Skene added: “A misperception is that breast cancer is most common in middle aged women but in reality the majority of patients I see are post-menopausal or elderly women.

“The good news is that the survival rate from breast cancer has also increased; it has doubled in the last 40 years. Your chance of surviving cancers and breast cancer is better now than it has ever been.”

It’s imperative that women at any age seek advice from a medical professional when noticing changes to their breasts; this includes size, swelling, lumps, pain or redness. However, women aged 50 and over must be extra vigilant in checking their breasts.

Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital has access to top of the range equipment at their mammography suite, which offers enhanced early detection of breast pathology/tissue changes and faster examination time.

To make an appointment at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital contact the customer services team on 01202 375032.