The Surgeon Minute

Breast Implants and Breast Cancer: What do patients need to know?

Breast Implants and Breast Cancer: What do patients need to know?

Even at a young age, women every where wonder about breast cancer and if they’ll ever have to deal with the disease. Especially for women who choose breast augmentation, how will breast implants impact chances of developing breast cancer and will implants negatively affect mammogram results? Dr. Stephan Finical, a board certified surgeon from Charlotte, North Carolina and an expert in breast augmentation, sets the record straight on the connection between the two, and what would-be breast augmentation patients need to know about breast cancer.

By Stephan J. Finical, MD
and Adam McMillon
ThePlasticSurgeryChannel.com

Radiologist helping patient with mammogramWhen to think about breast cancer

Breast cancer is a scary idea that goes through the mind of women as they age, especially those who have a family history of the disease. Fortunately, science and technology have made great strides towards preventing late-stage cancers by finding it earlier. Through the use of mammograms, women can go in and have their breasts checked, but it only works if you take the time to have it done. “Young healthy people aren’t thinking about breast cancer,” says Dr. Finical. “If they have a family history of breast cancer, they might have to get a mammogram early, but the American Cancer Society recommends that they get a mammogram at age 40.”

What if I have breast implants?

Of even more concern for women is whether or not having breast implants will affect the likely hood of developing breast cancer, and if implants may interfere with mammographic techniques. Dr. Finical says radiologists use a special technique for patients with implants. “When you get a mammogram, the radiologist is going to take your breasts and put them between two plates and take a picture through it, and take another from top to bottom. If they have an implant in place, they’ll do those views then push the implant back and do what’s called compression views, or Eklund views.”

That is good news indeed: radiologists have the Eklund technique to accurately use mammography to check for breast cancer. Breast implants will not block a mammogram from finding cancerous cells, but how do implants impact the possibility of developing cancer?

The correlation between implants and breast cancer

Although mammograms are extremely important, and the knowledge that implants do not interfere with results, there is an even more important question that breast augmentation patients wonder: do my implants make me more likely to get breast cancer?

“There are two important statistics to know about when you look at breast cancer and implants,” says Dr. Finical.

  1. “If you compare women who have implants to those who don’t, they both get breast cancer at the exact same time. In other words, breast implants don’t cause you to get breast cancer, and they also don’t protect you from it. “
  2. “Women who have implants and unfortunately develop breast cancer discover those cancers at the same stage of disease as women who don’t have implants. In other words, implants do not delay the diagnosis of breast cancer.”

The final word is this: science has yet to find any correlation between breast implants and the occurance of breast cancer. For would-be breast augmentation patients, let Dr. Finical’s assurance comfort you!

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