The month of October is traditionally the international month of breast cancer awareness. On the basis of recent data, more than 10.000 new patients are diagnosed in Belgium each year. With this 'Have them scanned' campaign, Tietje, together with Beautiful After Breast Cancer, would like to emphasize the importance of early detection. Self-examination and screening cannot prevent the development of breast cancer, but they do ensure that more breast cancers are detected and treated early. The treatment is often less severe, while the chance of complete recovery is also greater.
We would therefore like to encourage everyone, of all ages, to examine the breasts very regularly, preferably the week after menstruation. Because only you know how your breasts feel and because only you can notice changes the fastest. Pay attention to any irregularity that feels different than before, such as a retracted nipple, pit or lump in the breast, fluid loss from the nipple. Not every irregularity is breast cancer. Did you know that in the majority of cases (even more than 75%) the irregularity is benign?
The "Vlaams Bevolkingsonderzoek Borstkanker' also gives women aged 50 to 69 the opportunity to have a high-quality screening mammogram done every two years. The examination is in that case completely free if you have a Belgian health insurance. It is fully reimbursed.
A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of breast cancer. For example, it has already been demonstrated that at least 30 minutes of exercise every day reduces the risk. But be aware that women with a healthy lifestyle can also develop breast cancer.
There are some factors that increase the risk of breast cancer, such as age (more than 75% of all breast cancers occur in women over 50), little exercise or overweight. Genetic predisposition or family occurence also plays a role.
In recent years, with the discovery of the BRCA gene, there has been a shift towards prevention in breast cancer. Meanwhile, several genes have been discovered and several risk factors have been described. With regard to genetic predisposition and family occurence, we would like to refer to the relevant sections on our website.