Many women who undergo breast augmentation surgery often wonder how their implants will affect breast cancer prevention. Are there additional precautions women with breast implants need to take? The truth is, prevention methods for women with implants are slightly different than those without.
Here are some breast cancer prevention tips for women with implants:
Check your breasts regularly. Just as with women who don’t have breast implants, self-examinations are important. In fact, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women finding a lump themselves. If you have breast implants, make sure that you are familiar with the way your breasts feel, so you can notice any abnormalities should they appear.
Many women with implants have actually reported that self-examinations were easier after their breast augmentation surgery.
Get a mammogram. Most women start getting annual mammograms at age 40. A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that allows doctors to see changes in breast tissue. Mammograms can be used to detect breast cancer in women who don’t show any signs or symptoms of the disease.
The mammogram itself isn’t much different for women who have implants. There are typically four additional images that are taken in order to ensure that the doctor can properly see the breast tissue around the implants. These extra pictures are called implant displacement views. The implant is pushed back against the wall of the chest and the breast is pulled forward over it.
There are cases, however, where a woman’s implants have obscured the mammogram images, making it harder for the doctor to see any abnormalities. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the radiologist performing the mammogram has experience performing and reading mammograms of women with breast implants.
Some doctors may recommend that you get a mammogram before and within one year of breast augmentation surgery. The mammogram you get after your surgery will serve as a baseline for future tests and make it easier for doctors to notice any abnormalities in the future.
Talk to your doctor. Make sure that your doctor is aware that you have implants, especially prior to getting a mammogram. Although it’s very rare that a mammogram can harm your implants, it’s best to let the doctor know so they can be sure to take those additional images.
Your doctor may also decide to give you additional tests, such as an MRI screening.
Breast cancer detection is not that different in women with breast implants. Although extra precautions should be taken, such as additional mammogram images, breast cancer can still be detected. It is also important to note that studies have shown that there has been no increase in breast cancer risk, no difference in survival rate, and no difference in stage of disease or recurrence rates in women with implants vs women without implants.
If you have any questions about breast augmentation surgery, please contact us today.