Is it breast cancer?

A lump in your chest. The fear strikes you around the heart: it will not be breast cancer anyway? Often it is a false alarm. But be on your guard, because as many as one in eight women will ever be diagnosed with breast cancer …

In cancer, something goes wrong with cell division. The human body is made up of cells containing genetic material. These cells multiply each time so that dying cells can be replaced by new ones.

But sometimes that is wrong. Then erroneous cells are formed that together form a malignant tumor: a tumor. The medical term is a carcinoma.

What is breast cancer?

In breast cancer there is cancer in and around the breast tissue. The medical term for breast cancer is breast cancer. Mom means breast. In the vast majority of women, the disease starts in the milk ducts. Usually it is cancer in one breast.

It is the most common form of cancer among women. Every year around 14,500 women (and about 100 men) with this disease come to the Netherlands. From the age of 35 you run an increased risk, but especially after the transition, the risk of breast cancer increases significantly. Two-thirds of all patients are 50 years of age or older when the diagnosis is made.

Causes of breast cancer

Many fables are circulating about the causes of breast cancer , such as getting deodorant or wearing a bra. Many people think that breast cancer is always hereditary, but that only applies to 5 to 10 percent of women who get breast cancer. Usually the cause of breast cancer is unknown.

Risk factors

There are risk factors that increase the risk of breast cancer, but it is not that you always get breast cancer if you have a certain risk factor for you. Conversely, there are patients with breast cancer where it is not clear which risk factor could have played a role. The development of breast cancer has to do with a combination of factors.

The female sex hormones influence the risk of breast cancer. The longer you are exposed to estrogen and progesterone, the greater your risk of breast cancer. Women who started to menstruate before the age of 12 and were late in menopause, had no children or had their children after 35 years, are at greater risk. In addition, the contraceptive pill and hormone preparations for menopausal symptoms increase the risk of breast cancer. Late for the first time and early in the transition, a pregnancy at a young age, multiple children and long-term breastfeeding, reduces the risk of breast cancer correct.

Lifestyle factors also play a role. The link between diet and breast cancer is not yet clear. What is known is that obesity, alcohol and smoking increase the risk of breast cancer. Movement actually reduces the risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer is most common in women aged 50 and older.

Symptoms in breast cancer

These changes in the breast may indicate breast cancer:

A nodule.

A dimple.

Change of the nipple: redness, flakes, recently withdrawn, fluid secretion, a strand (etje) to the nipple.

Warm feeling chest with red discoloration.

Bad healing spot.

Painful place.

Swelling in the armpit

The breast tissue always feels a bit lumpy. Even just before menstruation , your breasts often feel differently than in the rest of the month. In addition, nodules and the other mentioned changes can have an innocent cause. Still, it is wise to always go to the doctor with changes in the breasts to be sure. The earlier you discover breast cancer, the greater the chance of a cure.


The doctor examines the breasts and lymph nodes. If necessary, he will refer you to a surgeon or breast clinic. Many hospitals have a breast clinic, a special outpatient clinic with all kinds of specialists where you undergo several examinations in one day. Often you get the results the same day.

The surveys can consist of:

(One more time) physical examination.

Mammography: X-ray of the chest.

Ultrasound: doctor moves a device over the skin that emits sound waves. The doctor makes photos of organs and tissues.

MRI scan .

Puncture: tissue cells and / or fluid are sucked up with a hollow needle so that they can be viewed.

Biopsy: doctor removes a piece of tissue so that it can be examined.

If a malignant tumor is discovered, then follow-up research is needed to see if there are metastases and how far the tumor has expanded.

Treatment of breast cancer

The most common treatments for breast cancer are:

An operation: in one third of patients, the entire breast should be removed. In two thirds of the women, the tumor and surrounding tissue is removed (breast-conserving surgery). Sometimes the lymph nodes in the armpit are also removed in an orthodox way.

Irradiation (radiotherapy): the cancer cells are killed by radiation.

Chemotherapy: treatment with drugs that disrupt cell division or destroy the cancer cells.

Hormone therapy: treatment that counteracts the effects of estrogen.

Targeted therapy: medication that only addresses the tumor cells and leaves the healthy cells alone.

Often the treatment consists of a combination of the above options.

What is the chance of a cure?

When you are told that you have breast cancer, your world collapses. Many patients especially want to know one thing: how do my survival chances lie? This is determined, among other things, by the type of breast cancer.

Some forms of breast cancer are more aggressive than others. Furthermore, it depends on the stage in which the disease is located. The larger the tumor and the further the metastases, the worse the outlook. That is why it is also so important to be there early.

In general, you can say that the average survival rates after five years currently fluctuate around 80 percent. The ten-year survival is 69 percent.

How Can You Prevent Hair Loss

Baldness is a specter for both men and women. Can you prevent hair loss? We presented these and other questions to hair specialist drs. E. Plinck of the Outpatient Clinic for Hair and Nail Diseases in Rotterdam.

Can a shampoo help to prevent hair loss?

Plinck: “No, a shampoo can not prevent hair loss, and no active substances can be added to a shampoo, which can penetrate far enough into the scalp to stimulate the hair roots, only with an alcohol-like solution and with the specially prepared water-soluble Minoxidil Lotion The effect of some food supplements for hair loss is scientifically proven. “

In the fall the complaints about hair loss invariably increase. But is it really true that you lose more hair in the fall?

Plinck: “Hair growth and hair loss are varied processes, many people have a moulting period in spring and autumn, but this does not apply to all people, everyone has their own – personal – pattern of growth and dropout.”

Does stress affect hair loss?

Plinck: “Usually not so much, but under extreme conditions, and if there is a hair problem, then stress can have a (negative) influence.”

Is transplanted hair permanent or does it fall out again?

Plinck: “The hair that is transplanted comes from the back of the head, which is insensitive to hair loss and is therefore no longer out of the question, but unfortunately for women, this only applies to men!”

Does the way you treat your hair affect hair loss, such as brushing often?

Plinck: “Yes, what you do with your hair certainly has an effect: Perma- nents, decolorizing and dyeing your hair (to a lesser degree) make the hair brittle, lifeless and fragile, often breaking away in the scalp, so it looks look like hair loss. “

“Even if the brush does not match the hair type (frizzy, straight, thick, thin, etc.) it can cause a lot of damage.” Plastic brushes make the hair static, which causes it to be damaged. “In the outpatient clinic, we see that people benefit greatly from brushes with real hair, preferably Mason Pearson brushes. “

Kidney Damage: Who Is At Extra Risk

More than one million people have chronic kidney damage. This has not yet been discovered in part of this. This can be serious, because when the kidneys work less well, your blood is poisoned. And that is bad for other organs. Some people are at extra risk for kidney damage. Who belong to that risk group?

Kidney damage can be demonstrated by means of minuscule traces of protein in the urine. Kidney damage can also be expressed in a reduced kidney function, then the kidneys are already doing worse. More than 1.7 million Dutch people (10 percent of the population) are troubled by it. In many cases the kidney damage remains undetected. Complaints often only occur when the kidney function is only 30 percent. 4 percent of the Dutch population – some 680,000 people – have chronic kidney damage without knowing it. Light kidney damage does not have to be bad, but it is important to detect the hidden kidney damage in time. Then you can take measures to prevent further problems as much as possible.

More than 50,000 Dutch people suffer from severe kidney damage with serious consequences. Essential processes are then disrupted in the body, and other complaints can arise such as cardiovascular problems. No less than 170,000 Dutch people have a greatly increased risk of kidney failure and death as a result of cardiovascular disease.

Poisoned blood

When our kidneys work less well, the blood is ‘poisoned’. That is bad for heart and blood vessels. We only notice that our kidneys are no longer performing their purifying function if only 30 percent (or less) of the kidney function is left. Only then will complaints arise. In further deterioration of renal function, kidney dialysis or even kidney transplantation threatens .

Some people are more at risk of kidney damage than others. People with diabetes or high blood pressure for example. Overweight, salty food and old age also increase the risk of kidney damage.


People with diabetes are more likely to develop kidney damage than people without diabetes. A quarter of people with diabetes also have kidney damage. This is why diabetes is regularly monitored by means of blood and urine tests.

Type 2 diabetes (formerly known as ‘old-age diabetes’) is often only discovered when it has been around for some time. It is becoming more common, even in young people. Sometimes minor kidney damage is present. Because obesity plays an important role in the development of this form of diabetes, by losing weight the diabetes can diminish, or even disappear altogether. This also reduces the risk of kidney damage.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure and kidney damage also have a lot to do with each other. But four in ten Dutch people are not aware that high blood pressure is one of the most important causes for the development of chronic kidney damage. This is shown by a survey that Eye Of The Eagle conducted among more than 500  people in 2011. An estimated half a million people between the ages of 20 and 65 have high blood pressure. A number that grows rapidly as the age rises: more than two-fifths of the over-50s suffer from high blood pressure and thus an increased risk of kidney damage.

Sieve bodies

We have two kidneys. In each kidney there is a half to one million sieve bodies. Such a sieve body is a ball of fine blood vessels. There the blood is filtered for purification. In case of high blood pressure, these sieve bodies get less blood. They also constrict and damage the blood vessels. As a result, they stop gradually – but permanently – with purification and renal function deteriorates irreparably.


A quarter of people with high blood pressure have permanent (chronic) kidney damage. When you suffer from high blood pressure, it is therefore important to have your kidneys checked annually. Because if you are in time, kidney damage can often be limited. That control can simply be done by the GP. He or she looks at the amount of protein in your urine and does blood tests to determine kidney function. If there is chronic kidney damage, the doctor may decide to prescribe (other) blood pressure lowering drugs.

Why You Should Not Follow A Low-Carbohydrate Diet

In the fight against surplus kilos, the low-carbohydrate diet has been in the spotlight in recent years. Many swore and removed starch sources such as rice, potatoes and bananas from the daily diet. Unwise, according to international studies.

The popularity of the low-carbohydrate diet is demonstrated by a campaign by a number of general practitioners from Leende in Brabant. They urged their patients to eat as little carbohydrate as possible. On the one hand it is true that the lowest possible intake of sugar reduces the risk of overweight and diabetes.

But the low-carbohydrate diet also entails health risks. This is the conclusion drawn by Professor Fred Brouns from Maastricht University. A low-carbohydrate diet contains relatively little fiber and a high fat content. This has unfavorable influences on the intestinal flora.

low-carbohydrate diet

Apart from that, Brouns states that a moderately altered dietary pattern in which you ingest at least 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrates can be better maintained. In the long term there are no proven benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet.

No low-carbohydrate diet

In addition to its own publication, Brouns has collaborated on an international study on nutritional guidelines . All researched countries and agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), recommend dietary guidelines to limit the intake of added sugars. However, none of them recommend to follow a low-carbohydrate diet.

Professor Brouns recommends reducing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the intake of fats. A ratio in which both nutrients provide about 40 percent of the energy intake is, according to him, a healthy criterion. In the case of carbohydrate sources, it is also important that they contain a lot of fiber and unsaturated fat sources.

His most important advice in the fight against overweight and diabetes is to change several lifestyle factors simultaneously. Healthy diet must be accompanied by sufficient exercise, a moderation in the amount of food, smoking cessation and moderate alcohol consumption.