A 98-YEAR-OLD who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year says she would be "very proud" if her story could encourage others over 70 to check for lumps.

Nell McInnery, from Parr, has shown that it is never too late to get breast cancer after being diagnosed with it last year.

The call for checks comes after startling figures which shows that the risk of breast cancer increases with age – as one in three women over 70 are being diagnosed with the disease.

Nell said: “I have never checked my breasts. Early last year I was in my bathroom having a wash when I noticed a lump in my breast.

"I was not overly concerned but told my good friend. She told me to make an appointment with the GP straightaway.

“At my GP appointment a couple of days later, I was examined and referred to Whiston Hospital for a biopsy. Results came back and I was told I had breast cancer.

“I underwent surgery to have the lump removed. I was in hospital for two days.

"After I returned home, I was referred to Clatterbridge Hospital and received several bouts of radiotherapy over a period of weeks.

"The radiotherapy went well and I had a further appointment with my consultant who gave me the all clear.

“From that day on, I regularly check my breasts and would be very proud if my story helps encourage people to check their breasts.”

Local health professionals are urging women over 70 to tell their doctor if they notice any changes to their breasts.

Dr Paul Rose, St Helens GP cancer lead, added: “It is vital that women check their breasts regularly for any changes, and a lump is the most common sign of breast cancer.

"There may also be other signs and symptoms which are listed below.

"If you notice any changes, tell your doctor as soon as possible, as finding the cancer early makes it more treatable.”

Women should see their doctor if they notice any of the following:

- a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before

- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts

- bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples

- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits

- dimpling on the skin of your breasts

- a rash on or around your nipple

- a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Sue Forster, director of Public Health for St Helens Council, said: “The ‘breast cancer in women over 70’ campaign has been run previously on two occasions.

"Both campaigns showed an increase in awareness of the key messages promoted and more cancers were found to be diagnosed during the campaign period, we hope to see the same positive results following this campaign.”

For more information visit nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer.