03 Mar 2023

Women With Breast Implants Failing To Have Regular Breast Screens

Unfortunately research is showing us that women with breast implants are failing to undertake regular breast screening for fear of damaging their implants and this is increasing the risk of issues not being detected in a timely manner.

While breast implants may potentially make the process of undertaking regular breast screening a little more complicated, this should not discourage women from undertaking regular breast screening.

Breast Screening Is Crucial

We know that women with breast implants are still at risk of breast cancer like any other female however, they are now also at potential risk of implant-related cancer.

Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that women with breast implants undertake regular breast screening, and ensure the screening takes place at a clinic that has the appropriate experience and expertise.

Ignore The Google Fear-Mongering

Unfortunately, Dr Google is contributing to fear-mongering and causing unnecessary worry, particularly among young women with implants.

Women undertake breast screens across the world every single day and it is very safe to do so with implants as well.

Different Types Of Screening Are Available

There are different types of breast screening available including mammography, ultrasound, and MRI. Mammograms are the most common form of screening and they are recommended for women 40 years and older.

Mammograms are highly effective and can detect the majority of cancers however should the implant obscure some of the breast tissue then it may be necessary to undertake a different type of screening.

The implants are generally placed above or partially below the muscle. This means that the breast tissue is still above the implant device which allows for screening. The risk is the extra volume can make it harder to assess.

Additional Breast Scans Often Help

When undertaking a mammogram, women who have undertaken breast augmentation need to be aware of specific issues. Unfortunately mammograms may not always provide full visibility of the breast tissue for women with breast implants.

If imaging scans prove to be inconclusive or identify potential abnormalities, then the doctor may decide to undertake other scans including an MRI. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a technology that uses magnets and radio waves to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. MRI does not use X-rays, so it does not involve any radiation exposure.

In some cases, the doctor may conduct a needle biopsy. This is when a needle is inserted to collect a fluid or tissue sample from a lump in the breast to check if cancer cells are present.

 

Be Vigilant And Undertake Self-Examinations Regularly

Vigilance in looking out for warning signs is incredibly important. Early detection is the best way to find breast cancer early. This means treatment can start as early as possible.

Utilising my easy to follow ‘three step’ process, LOOK, LIFT, FEEL, which is a simple breast examination you can undertake yourself at home in front of the mirror, is the ideal way to check the health of your breasts on a regular basis. It is not meant to replace your regular check ups, but rather supplement them in between check ups and annual scans. If you find anything concerning or notice any changes, make an appointment with your GP straight away who will then determine the next best steps.

While breast augmentation is Australia’s most popular cosmetic surgery procedure it is also an important element of breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy. As the popularity of breast augmentation procedures grow, it’s important for women to be aware of the special requirements relating to mammograms and overall breast health and awareness.

Women With Implants Should Have Clinical Checks Every Year

Women aged 40 and above should undertake mammograms at a minimum of every two years and women with implants should have implant clinical checks every year.

Don’t put off scans, make them a priority. People with implants should undertake regular breast implant checkups and screening.

This is one of the reasons why I established a breast implant clinic – to provide people with the ability to access breast implant health support.

Our breast implant clinic is available to assist

Our breast implant clinic can assist with any inquiries and help to point you in the right direction. Women with breast implants should ask their doctor to refer them to a clinic where radiologists have experience in performing and reading scans of women with breast implants.

If this is not possible, then it’s important to inform the staff ahead of time that you have implants. A standard 2D mammogram involves taking two pictures of each breast, one from the side and the other from above.

Factors that should influence the degree of screening include family history, breast density and genetic mutations. Certain types of breast implants can cause an immune cell cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Further information about breast screening and early cancer detection can be found by reaching out to Warrier Practice. Our team will assist you in any way we can!