Women: Breast Implants And Cancer Risk
In about 90% of breast cancer cases, women find a breast lumpthemselves. So, check your breasts regularly. If you have implants, payextra attention to how your new breasts look and feel.
Have breast implants? Or thinking of getting implants? You may be worried theyll make it hard for your doctor to detect and treat breast cancer.
No need for concern, says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Andersons Cancer Prevention Center. Just take the extra precautions listed below.
Get familiar with your new breasts
In about 90% of breast cancer cases, women find a breast lump themselves. So, check your breasts regularly. Its one of the best ways to detect breast cancer early.
If you have implants, pay extra attention to how your new breasts look and feel.
Itll take a while to get used to your new breasts because theyll have a different texture. Theyll also have new folds or dimples, Bevers says.
But after you get comfortable with your new breasts, you shouldnt have any problems noticing changes.
Women with implants can sometimes even notice changes more easily than women without implants, Bevers says. Implants tend to push the natural breast tissue closer to the surface of the breast, making a lump easier to feel.
Take extra screening steps
Most women, including those with breast implants, should start annual mammograms at age 40.
Worried that flattening your breasts during the exam will damage your implants? That rarely happens, Clemens says.
How Do You Check For Breast Cancer With Implants
If you see any lumps, they should be small or large. The skin or nipple can be affected by any changes described above. You should check your armpit the same way you did your breasts by lifting one arm at a time. You can also check for any discharge from the nipple by squeezing each nipple gently with your thumb and index finger.
Breast Implants May Make Cancer Harder To Detect
Breast implants may make it more difficult to detect breast cancer at an early stage, a new analysis suggests.
In the study of women with breast cancer, those with breast implants tended to be diagnosed at a later stage than women without implants.
However, the findings are preliminary, and more research is needed to confirm them.
Breast implants themselves are not thought to increase the risk of breast cancer, but there has been concern that implants may impair doctorsâ ability to view breast tissue with mammograms. Earlier studies looking at this issue have had mixed results.
The new study analyzed information from 12 previous studies involving women with breast cancer who either did have or did not have breast implants. Together, these studies included women living in the United States, Canada and Europe.
Women with breast implants were 26 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a late stage, compared to women without breast implants. However, this finding did not quite rise to the level of âsignificant,â meaning it could have been due to chance.
In a separate analysis of an additional five studies of women with breast cancer, women with implants were 38 percent more likely to die of the disease than women without implants.
This second finding should also be interpreted with caution, the researchers said, because some of the studies didnât take into account factors that could influence breast cancer risk, such as obesity.
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Feeling For Lumps With Breast Implants Will I Be Able To Detect Them
Hi Does having breast implants affect your ability to feel / find lumps and detect breast cancer in the early stages? I am concerned that by having implants it may disguise lumps that i would normally be able to detect? Please could i have advise on both & #39 over& #39 and & #39 under& #39 the muscle implants. Thanks
Things To Think About Before Getting Implants
Most women will do well with implants. But there are some important factors to keep in mind if you are thinking about having implants to reconstruct the breast and/or to make the other breast match the reconstructed one:
- You may need more surgery to remove and/or replace your implant later. In fact, up to half of implants used for breast reconstruction have to be removed, modified, or replaced within 10 years.
- You might have problems with breast implants. They can break or cause infection or pain. Scar tissue may form around the implant , which can make the breast harden or change shape, so that it no longer looks or feels like it did just after surgery. Most of these problems can be fixed with surgery, but others might not.
- Breast MRIs may be needed every few years to make sure silicone gel implants have not broken. Your health insurance might not cover this.
- Routine mammograms to check your remaining breast for cancer could be harder if you have a breast implant there you may need more x-rays of the breast, and the compression may be more uncomfortable.
- An implant in the remaining breast could affect your ability to breastfeed, either by reducing the amount of milk or stopping your body from making milk.
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What Is Breast Reconstruction
Many women who have a mastectomysurgery to remove an entire breast to treat or prevent breast cancerhave the option of having the shape of the removed breast rebuilt.
Women who choose to have their breasts rebuilt have several options for how it can be done. Breasts can be rebuilt using implants . They can also be rebuilt using autologous tissue . Sometimes both implants and autologous tissue are used to rebuild the breast.
Surgery to reconstruct the breasts can be done at the time of the mastectomy or it can be done after the mastectomy incisions have healed and breast cancer therapy has been completed . Delayed reconstruction can happen months or even years after the mastectomy.
Sometimes breast reconstruction surgery includes surgery on the other, or contralateral, breast so that the two breasts will match in size and shape.
Description Of The Fda Study
This study examined data from the Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database. This FDA database collects mandatory or voluntary reports of medical device adverse events from physicians, breast implant manufactures, consumers, and others. The reports were received between June 1992 and October 2002 for events that occurred between June 1972 and June 2002. The mean age of the implant was 14.5 years, and ranged from 2-29 years.
The use of the MAUDE database has limitations. The FDA does not verify the information that is provided. Therefore, the FDA cannot guarantee that the information is accurate and complete. In addition, in some cases, a doctor and a patient could potentially report the same problem. On the other hand, most problems are not reported even once, since patient and physician reporting is voluntary. It is well-documented that the vast majority of problems arising from medical products are not reported to the FDA. As a result of these shortcomings, these data cannot be used to calculate the number of new adverse events expected for a given number of people in a defined time period.
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Possible Causes Of A Lump With Breast Augmentation
If you can feel a lump in your breast implant, it may be related to a fold or crease in the actual implant shell. This will be more common in women who have a contracture or a firmness to their implants. This firmness around the implant can cause it to change shape and form a buckle that might feel like a mass on the implant. Pain can be associated with implant lumps because they can be sharp and cause inflammation.
The first concern about a mass is the possibility of cancer. This is one of the leading causes of death in the female population and will affect an astounding 1 out of every 8 women in their lifetime. As your age increases, so does your risk of cancer. Most breast cancers are found in women older than fifty, and they are rarely found in patients younger than 25. Regardless of your age, there are steps you should take.
Where Can I Find Current Recommendations For Screening Mammography
Many organizations and professional societies, including the United States Preventive Services Task Force , have developed guidelines for mammography screening, as summarized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . All recommend that women talk with their doctor about the benefits and harms of mammography, when to start screening, and how often to be screened.
Although NCI does not issue guidelines for cancer screening, it conducts and facilitates basic, clinical, and translational research that informs standard clinical practice and medical decision making that other organizations may use to develop guidelines.
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Implants Can Hide Breast Cancer On A Screening Mammogram
The X-rays used in mammograms dont sufficiently penetrate saline or silicone. So, depending on where a cancer is located, it can be tougher to find on a mammogram.
It is manageable we do it all the time, it definitely makes things a little trickier, Dr. Baker says.
In the same Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery study above, the rate of cancer detection by screening mammography was actually lower for women with implants versus women without implants .
Despite the limitations of mammography screening in women with implants, Dr. Patel says their survival is no different: The outcome in patients that do develop breast cancer, even with implants, is the same as those without implants.
A Note About Fibrocystic Breast Tissue
Fibrocystic breasts are breasts that always feel dense and lumpy. This is a very common condition and doesnt necessarily mean that the breasts are cancerous. Once your doctor helps you establish which lumps are noncancerous, you can use these as benchmarks to observe any changes in the natural landscape of your breasts.
Since breast implants are placed under your breast tissue, you can still have fibrocystic breasts following an augmentation.
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Can Breast Cancer Screening Affect My Implants
In very rare cases, breast implants can be damaged or ruptured during the screening process. This is generally associated with compression from a mammogram, but it can also happen during another procedure known as a needle biopsy.
Needle biopsies may be done if normal imaging scans are inconclusive. Doctors insert a needle to collect a fluid or tissue sample from a lump in the breast. They then study it under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. In rare instances, needle biopsies may cause implant rupturing, depending on where the lump is located.
If you are worried about a possible implant rupture, check with your doctor before undergoing a mammogram or needle biopsy. If your doctor says you might be at risk, then you may want to consider an MRI instead of having a mammogram.
Interference With Breast Cancer Detection
Breast implants make it more difficult to detect breast cancer. If you are considering getting breast implants or already have breast implants, it is important to know how they can make mammography and breast exams less accurate.
Mammography is used to screen for and detect breast cancer. Breast implants make mammography less accurate because they can hide cancer that is growing behind or around the implant. 1 According to a research study published in the British Medical Journal, women with cosmetic breast implants who are diagnosed with breast cancer, are more likely to die from the disease compared to women without breast implants who are diagnosed with breast cancer.2The study found that women with breast implants were more likely to be diagnosed with a later stage breast cancer, compared to women diagnosed with breast cancer without breast implants. This likely occurred because implants interfere with mammography, making it difficult to diagnose breast cancer early.
A mammogram is a type of x-ray. Breast tissue will look grey on the mammogram, and cancer will look white. In a mammogram, implants are also white and will look like a bright white orb. If there is cancer in breast tissue that is below or very near the implant on the mammogram, it probably will not be visible, and therefore wont be detected.
Here is an example of what implants look like on a mammogram:3
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Additional Screening May Be Necessary
Mammography remains the tool of choice for breast cancer screening. But sometimes doctors recommend additional imaging.
Usually we only do ultrasound screening for women who are high risk or women who have dense breast tissue, Dr. Baker explains. But if the radiologist has trouble seeing breast tissue because of implants, a screening ultrasound is a consideration.
Ultrasound is not a substitute for mammography, he adds, because each yields different information. Mammography picks up tiny calcium deposits that can be a precursor to breast cancer, while ultrasound does not. Ultrasound may reveal a small mass hidden by the implant that mammography cannot detect.
Becoming Familiar With Augmented Breasts
Although the breast self-exam procedure following breast augmentation is similar to the procedure you followed prior to augmentation, you may need to take extra steps to familiarize yourself with your breasts and implants. First, ask your cosmetic surgeon to help you identify the edges of your implants so you can better distinguish the implants from your natural breast tissue. After youve identified where your implants reside, press firmly along the edges of the implants so you can feel your rib cage. Then, move your fingers around the edges of your implants to feel for lumps and other changes that may have developed in your natural breast tissue.
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What Are The Results Of A Ct Scan For Breast Reconstruction
CT scans were evaluated for type of breast reconstruction , presence of abdominal and chest wall surgical clips, and presence of the rectus abdominis musculature.
If your doctor does recommend screenings, ask which test is best for you: mammogram, MRI, ultrasound, or some combination of tests. Generally, its best to wait at least 6 months after reconstruction to start screenings. Also, be sure to let the imaging center know that you have breast implants and/or a flap reconstruction.
Occasionally, a mammogram, ultrasound, or aspiration biopsy may be required to confirm a benign fat necrosis. If you had implant reconstruction and you feel hardness in the breast area, it may be the result of capsular contracture.
Answer: Breast Exams And Implants
You should be able to perform self-examination of the breasts. I think at first you have to feel comfortable manipulating your own breasts and feeling what is gland and what is implant. Obviously if different lumps develop, then it should be of concern and you should see your doctor to be evaluated.
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Special Mammograms For Women With Implants
Women with implants can be effectively screened for cancer they simply require a few additional images during their mammogram.
Instead of just the traditional views captured during a standard mammogram, the radiologist or technician will likely capture additional views for women with implants. To increase visibility on the images, the radiologist may take implant displacement views. In these images, the implant is pushed back against the chest wall bringing the natural breast tissue forward. Implant displacement views have been shown to improve the evaluation for as many as 92% of patients.
What Are Breast Implants
Breast implants are gel or fluid-filled pouches inserted in the breast area. People may get breast implants for many reasons, including cosmetic enhancement or reconstruction after breast surgery.
Breast implants differ in their size, shape, filling and surface characteristics. Most implants are either round or teardrop-shaped. They may be filled with saline or with silicone gel. The surface of the implant may be smooth or rough and different implants may vary in the amount of irregularity of the texture.
Breast implants are not lifetime devices and need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years.
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Schedule Your Next Mammogram With Health Images
Whether youre seeking a reliable clinic with experience doing mammograms for people with breast implants or are just due for your next mammogram, Health Images has you covered. Women should get annual mammograms after they turn 40, and a mammogram doesnt need a referral by a general physician.
Schedule a mammogram with Health Images by getting in touch with the location closest to you and take control of your health today.
How Are Tram Flaps Used For Breast Reconstruction
The transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap procedure is a commonly performed breast reconstruction technique after mastectomy for breast cancer . Subcutaneous fat from the abdominal wall and all or part of one or both rectus abdominis muscles is transferred to the chest wall to reconstruct the breast .
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Get To Know Your Implants
If youve had breast augmentation or reconstruction , get to know your new normal.
We do recommend that if a patient has an implant in place that she become familiar with the implant, says Sameer Patel, MD, associate professor in the department of surgical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Talk to your surgeon about how you can tell what is breast tissue and what is implant, he advises.
A recent study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery suggests that breast cancers are likely to be detected at smaller sizes in women with breast implants, especially palpable lumps found by self-examination or during a clinical breast exam. The study involved 48 women who developed breast cancer after implants and 302 women with breast cancer but without implants.