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5 things everyone should know about breast cancer

October is the month where we focus on breast cancer. We already listed some important figures last year, and we also have a file on breast cancer. Here are 5 things everyone should know about breast cancer.

Know the risk factors The two main risk factors for developing breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. Other important risk factors for breast cancer include family history of the disease, inherited changes, or mutations of certain genes. These breast cancer risk factors are out of your control. However, there are risk factors that you can manage, such as your weight, being physically active, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Know the warning signs
The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women. Usually breast cancer is asymptomatic, and often shows up on a mammogram before a lump is felt. However, there are other red flags. Also look for skin changes – redness or thickening of the skin. Other warning signs include nipple inflammation.

Mammograms save lives, so does self-examination
Mammographic screening means that most breast cancers are detected at an early stage. However, there is much debate about the value of performing a breast exam on your own. Self-examination helps women become familiar with their breasts so that they are better able to notice a lump or other changes.

New research shows promise
Researchers around the world are working on better ways to prevent, detect and treat breast cancer and improve the quality of life for patients and survivors. Thanks to advances over the past decade, new targeted therapies offer more treatment options for patients.

Not only women get breast cancer Although many more women develop breast cancer, men can also be affected by the disease. Men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier have a good chance of a cure, but many men don't go to the doctor if they discover signs or symptoms, such as a lump. It is important to remember that 1 in 150 men in the Netherlands will develop breast cancer. Men are not screened, so it is important that if they discover a lump or change in the nipple they should have it examined.