SCREEN70+

AM I TOO OLD FOR BREAST CANCER?

Screen70+ can help you decide whether or not to continue having mammograms from age 70+

If you're age 70+, you're no longer entitled to a free screening mammogram.

Screen 70+ is based on a tool created by Dr Mara Schonberg at Harvard Medical School. Thanks to Dr Schonberg for her kind permission to use her work.

AM I TOO OLD FOR BREAST CANCER?

No. In your 70s, your breast cancer risk is slightly higher than in your 50s.

When you decide whether or not to continue with mammograms, you might want to think about how many years you have left to live...and what health will you be in?

HOW LONG WILL I LIVE?

Year you were born


How old are you?
Your result will be shown here

Calculations based on life expectancy figures from Statistics NZ at medium death rates

About 700 women aged 70+ are diagnosed in NZ each year – that’s one quarter of breast cancers.

HOW GOOD IS MY HEALTH?

1
How old are you?
70 - 74
75 - 79
80 - 84
85+
4
Have you ever been told by a doctor or health professional that you had emphysema or chronic bronchitis or COPD?
No
Yes
2
How much do you weigh?
More than 59kg
59kg or less
5
Have you ever been told by a doctor or health professional that you had a cancer? (do not include skin cancer unless it was melanoma)
No
Yes
3
Would you say your health is:
Excellent
Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor
6
Have you ever been told by a doctor or health professional that you had diabetes (including borderline or pre-diabetes)?
No
Yes

If you've had breast cancer before, or if you have possible breast cancer symptoms (a lump, unusual pain, skin or nipple changes), don't use this tool. See your doctor to discuss your screening needs.

Privacy Statement:

The information you enter here is used only to calculate your personal health score. We do not store this information.

HOW GOOD IS MY HEALTH?

7
Because of a physical, mental or emotional problem, do you need help from other people with routine needs? These include everyday household chores, shopping or getting around for other purpose.
No
Yes
9
Whice best describes your cigarette use?
Never smoked or smoked less than 100 cigarettes in your life
Former smoker
Current smoker
8
By yourself and without using any special equipment, how difficult is it for you to walk 400 metres?
Not at all difficult
A little difficult to very difficult
Can't do at all/do not do/can Only do with a cane or walker
10
During the past 12 months, how many times were you hospitalised overnight?
None
Once
Twice or more

If you've had breast cancer before, or if you have possible breast cancer symptoms (a lump, unusual pain, skin or nipple changes), don't use this tool. See your doctor to discuss your screening needs.

Privacy Statement:

The information you enter here is used only to calculate your personal health score. We do not store this information.

YOUR HEALTH SCORE IS
0

What does my score mean?

A mammogram is very unlikely to help you live longer

A mammogram is unlikely to help you live longer

A mammogram may help you live longer

7
Health Score
7
Disclaimer:

This score reflects some of the health factors that might influence a woman’s decision to have a mammogram. It is not a medical assessment. Please discuss any health concerns with your doctor.

MAMMOGRAM FACTS

Breast cancer rates per 1000 women age 70+

WITHOUT MAMMOGRAMS
WITH MAMMOGRAMS
For every 1000 women 70 years or older
12 are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (early stage breast cancer is cancer that is confined to the breast)
4 are diagnosed with late stage breast cancer (late stage breast cancer is cancer that spread outside the breast)
are not diagnosed with breast cancer

984

4 are diagnosed with pre-cancer
20 are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (early stage breast cancer is cancer that is confined to the breast)
2 are diagnosed with late stage breast cancer (late stage breast cancer is cancer that spread outside the breast)

974

are not diagnosed with breast cancer
Health Score
7

Some pre-cancers and early stage breast cancers will not cause a problem in a woman's lifetime.

WHAT ARE WE DYING OF?

Of every 1,000 NZ women who die aged 70 or older*

272
272 will die of heart disease
40
40 will die of lung cancer
125
125 will die of stroke
38
38 will die of bowel cancer
70
70 will die of emphysema, COPD, bronchitis, asthma
25
25 will die of breast cancer
55
55 will die of mental disorders (including dementia)
11
11 will die of skin cancer
29
29 will die of degenerative nervous disorders (including Alzheimer's)
10
10 will die of ovarian cancer
26
26 will die of diabetes
102
102 will die of other cancers
26
26 will die from a fall
148
148 will die of other causes
23
23 will die of flu or pneumonia
Health Score
7

Many more women age 70 and older die of heart disease than breast cancer.

*Causes of Death, 2010, Ministry of Health

WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET BREAST CANCER?

Here are some of the treatments available to New Zealand women with breast cancer.

SURGERY

BREAST-CONSERVING SURGERY (lumpectomy)

Only the lump of breast cancer is removed from the breast. Most older women do well after this surgery.

MASTECTOMY

Surgical removal of the breast. Some older women experience pain, infection, swelling in their arm, and even death after mastectomy.

HORMONE THERAPY PILLS

Hormone therapy pills are taken for at least 5 years to prevent breast cancer from coming back. May cause hot flashes, bone pain, osteoporosis, or fatigue in some women.

RADIATION THERAPY

High-energy radiation gets rid of cancer cells. Radiation is given 5 days a week for up to five weeks. May cause fatigue and breast pain.

CHEMOTHERAPY

An intravenous (IV) medication that is given to get rid of cancer cells. Can have side effects like vomiting, fatigue, diarrhoea, or infections. Few women age 75 or older are treated with chemotherapy. However, new studies are coming out which suggest older women can do well on chemotherapy.

Health Score
7

It's important to think about whether you would be willing to be treated for breast cancer before getting a mammogram.

MAMMOGRAMS – WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Drag or click the pink slider button to the side you most agree with
A mammogram may find a breast cancer that would never have caused problems or symptoms in my lifetime.
A mammogram is more likely to find breast cancer when it is small, improving my chances of only needing minor surgery.
Getting a mammogram may increase the number of tests or treatments that I get. Some of these tests or treatments can harm older women.
Getting a mammogram may lower my chances of dying from breast cancer (though this is not certain).
Getting a mammogram may be uncomfortable or make me feel anxious.
Getting a mammogram may help me feel good about myself and my health.
In the next year, are you going to get a mammogram? Yes No Undecided
Screen
70+

It's important to think about whether you would be willing to be treated for breast cancer before getting a mammogram.

THANK YOU

WHATEVER YOU DECIDE ABOUT MAMMOGRAMS, PLEASE GET ANY BREAST CHANGES CHECKED BY YOUR DOCTOR

Questions or Feedback about this tool?
Email us or call 0800 BC NURSE

Talk to your GP about whether or not you should continue with mammograms in your seventies

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70+
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