Skip to main content

Breast cancer

Three womenThis page provides information for women, their partners and families about breast cancer. 

About breast cancer

The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. Breast cancer is most common in women over the age of 50 who have been through the menopause.

All women who are 50-70 years of age will be invited to attend hospital to be screened for breast cancer every 3 years as part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme. Attending screening is really important as detecting breast cancer breast cancer means there’s a much higher chance of a woman making a full recovery. Women over the age of 70 are still eligible to be screened and should speak to their GP or local screening unit about this.

Being diagnosed with cancer, and the treatment that follows, can be a very difficult thing to cope with. The support of family, friends, healthcare professionals and other people who have had a similar experience, can be hugely helpful during this time. As well as information about diagnosis, treatment and management of breast cancer, some of the organisations linked to below provide information about accessing emotional support.

Thhe links below provide more information about breast cancer:

  • Breast Cancer Care
    Information and support about breast cancer
  • Breast Cancer Now
    Includes information about causes, signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer
  • Cancer Research UK
    Includes information about diagnosing, treating and living with breast cancer
  • Macmillan
    Help and support for people affected by breast cancer
  • NHS Choices
    Includes information about symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and living with breast cancer
  • Women’s Health Concern
    Factsheet focusing on risk factors for breast cancer

Preventing breast cancer cancers

Leading a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent cancers. During and after menopause is no different. NHS Choices provides general healthy lifestyle information, tips and support to help you reduce the risk of cancer.

Making a choice about your treatment

There will be choices to make about the type of treatment you wish to receive. You will probably have a lot of questions and may wish to discuss your options with family and friends. To begin with, try to get answers to three key questions:

  • What are my options?
  • What are the pros and cons of each option for me?
  • How do I get support to help me make a decision that is right for me?

For more information about working with your healthcare professional to make the right choice for you, please visit the NHS Shared Decision Making website.

About the links on this page

Some of the information this page links to  is not produced by the RCOG. Our policy on publishing links to third-party sites outlines how we decide which sites to link to, and our terms and conditions include a disclaimer about the RCOG’s responsibility for information on linked sites.

Please give us your feedback

We would like to understand how people are using this resource to help ensure it is relevant and useful. To give us your feedback, please complete our short survey.

If you have any questions, please email

Elsewhere on the site

Medical terms explained
A–Z of common medical words in women’s health
About the RCOG
Find out about our work to improve women’s health worldwide