A woman from Norton who was treated for breast cancer has backed a campaign to raise awareness for women who are over 70 years old.
Laura Easton, who is 78, has urged any older women to visit their doctor if they see any changes to their breasts.
A national Be Clear on Cancer campaign is running now until 6 September to highlight breast cancer in women over 70.
Laura said: “I feel really strongly about telling people about my own experience because it shows you how easily you can miss the warning signs.
“I had noticed a rash on the skin. It was a few spots, it was like eczema, which I thought was strange because I don’t have problems with my skin.
“Around that time I was due to visit the GP to get my blood pressure checked. While I was there I had the spots looked at and was prescribed a cream. This didn’t help clear it up, so I went back to the GP who referred me to a specialist.”
In February, Laura was referred to the breast unit at the University Hospital of North Tees where tests were carried out and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Within days she had surgery to have a mastectomy and, because the cancer was caught early, she has not needed chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. Instead, she takes a pill known as Letrozole daily which reduces the risk of cancer returning.
With the support of her two sons and four grandchildren, as well as her close friend and neighbour Judith Butler, she has made a quick recovery.
She said: “At first it didn’t register. From that point everything happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to think, which I feel lucky about really because I didn’t have time to worry.
“My family have always been here to support me as well as my friend Judy, who herself is a nurse, which has helped when I have needed help understanding things. Staff in the unit have been nothing but superb. They were always at the end of the phone if I didn’t understand anything.
“I don’t like to be the centre of attention, but I want to be part of this campaign because I feel strongly about it.
“Women around my age should not hesitate to visit their doctor if they experience anything unusual. It’s not just about looking for lumps – it’s any changes in your breasts you experience.”
Jan Harley, lead cancer nurse, said: “The key message about this campaign is that one in three women who get breast cancer are over 70, so they must not assume they are not at risk.
“If women over 70 see any changes to their breasts they should visit their GP. Women like Laura prove that if you are diagnosed early it is treatable. It is fantastic to see Laura looking so well having made a full recovery.”
For more information about the campaign visit www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer/breast-cancer/