Can Breast Implants Affect Breast Cancer Detection?
Patients often ask me if breast augmentation surgery changes their breast cancer risk and if breast implants affect breast cancer detection. A recent study in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal sheds some light on breast augmentation as it relates to breast cancer detection. Researchers asked the question: What effect, if any, does breast augmentation have on breast cancer? Having breast augmentation surgery did not change breast cancer detection in women. When women with implants were compared to women without implants, their cancer stage was no different. That means that neither group was more likely to present with advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Does the location of the breast implant affect breast cancer detection?
Another question they sought to address – does the location of the breast implant affect breast cancer detection? Implants can be placed above the pectoralis major muscle or below the muscle. Women whose implants were placed above the muscle were more likely to find advanced tumors on their own self-examination. Therefore, women who have a history of subglandular implants (above the muscle) should be proactive about their breast cancer screening. They should also obtain regular mammograms and attend regular screening evaluations with their doctor. What if you have a family history of breast cancer and are considering breast augmentation surgery? In that case, you should definitely discuss family history with your plastic surgeon.
What resources do we have for breast cancer detection?
When it comes to screening for breast cancer, catching it early is key! The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers a free resource on 3 steps to early detection of breast cancer. They also offer a number of tips like — How to perform a breast cancer detection self exam at home. What symptoms to look out for. Healthy habits to prevent breast cancer. And when to schedule your routine mammograms. The bottom line is this:
- Breast augmentation is a safe operation
- Studies show that having prior breast augmentation does not change breast cancer detection
- Consult your plastic surgeon as to whether this operation is right for you
Check out the youtube video below for a nice summary from the journal editor. In this video, he addresses the topic “Does breast augmentation affects breast cancer detection?”