Every year, approximately 6000 women in Flanders are told they have breast cancer. It is the most common cancer among women. 3 in 4 breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50. Approximately 1 in 5 women with breast cancer eventually die from the disease.
Breast cancer can be detected at an early stage. This makes it one of the diseases that qualify for a screening programme.
That is why the Flemish government organises a Breast Cancer Screening Programme in which all women aged 50 to 69 are offered a free screening mammogram every two years.
Through this examination, we may be able to tell if you have breast cancer before you notice it yourself. The sooner we detect breast cancer, the greater the chance of successful treatment.
Early detection has some significant benefits: Since the disease is diagnosed earlier, complications or (more intensive) treatment can be avoided and the chance of a full recovery is greater.
Why should I participate?
A screening mammogram can detect abnormalities in your breasts early, long before you notice them yourself.
The sooner we detect breast cancer, the greater the chance of successful treatment.
You decide for yourself whether to participate or not. Inform yourself well. You will then know what the examination entails and what its purpose is.
You should not participate if:
- You have been diagnosed with breast cancer recently, or in the past ten years. The type of treatment is unimportant.
- You have noticed a change in a breast (lump, skin discolouration, dimpling, nipple retraction, rash around the nipple, inflammation or loss of fluid or blood from the nipple). In such cases, consult your GP.
- You have a greatly increased risk of breast cancer: several women in your immediate family (grandmothers, mother, sisters or daughters) have had breast cancer.