A quarter of Belgian women aren't aware of signs that indicate breast cancer and may therefore be at risk of detecting the disease late, according to a Pink Ribbon (breast cancer charity) survey conducted by the iVox study agency among 1,000 Belgian women.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women in Belgian affecting one in nine women. 10,500 patients are diagnosed every year and 100,000 women are fighting breast cancer in Belgium, according to Pink Ribbon.
Yet the survey shows that women know very little about the symptoms of breast cancer. Three-quarters of women are aware that a lump in the breast is an alarm bell but less than half know that a change in breast colour, uneven skin, an inverted nipple, or fluid loss from the nipple can also be an indicator.
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"More needs to be done on comprehensible and accessible information about breast cancer," said breast surgeon Jan Lamote from UZ Brussels in De Morgen. "A healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise appears to be key, although it isn't immediately clear why exercise, such as walking, reduces the risk of breast cancer."
Pink Ribbon stresses that the earlier breast cancer is detected the less invasive treatment will be and the greater the chance of recovery.
"When diagnosed early, 9 in 10 breast cancer patients will still be alive after 5 years and the majority will have overcome the disease," the charity writes on its website.