Sabina Higgins has urged women over 70 to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer, after revealing that she is undergoing treatment herself.

The President’s wife said she underwent a successful procedure yesterday.

In a statement from Áras an Uachtaráin, Ms Higgins said: “I would like to express my sincere thanks to the doctors and medical staff who are providing me with such expert care in my treatment.

“I would like to take the opportunity of my diagnosis to call on all women to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer and to seek checks as regularly as they can.”

She added: “It may come as a surprise to many people to learn that the risk of breast cancer increases with age and that 36% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland are over the age of 70. While BreastCheck screening runs for women up to the age of 69, I would urge all women over the age of 70 of the vital importance of continuing to look for any potential symptoms of breast cancer on a regular basis and to seek medical checks whenever possible.”