A new wave of reports of breast cancers linked to breast augmentation and implants has women scrambling to learn more. So far, here’s what we know.
First, nearly every case of the cancer in question has been linked to textured implants. That should be the first step in determining any course of action. And, it’s worth noting that most of the implants used in the United States are smooth. If you don’t know what kind of implant you have, find out. If it’s textured, you’ll want to pay close attention. If it’s not, then you should simply continue with your routine care as recommended by your doctor.
Next, understand the risks and symptoms. If you have a textured implant, then you may be at an increased risk of developing anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. The texture of the implant may cause abrasions and other damage to the internal breast tissue which could, over time, lead to abnormalities. At this time, the FDA is not recommending that women with textured implants have them removed. Rather, as is the case with breast cancer in general, women are encouraged to monitor their breast health and to contact a doctor if they experience pain, swelling, fluid buildup, or lumps.
Finally, make sure your doctor understands the risks and symptoms. According to a story published in the New York Times, not all doctors know how to treat problems that can arise from breast implants. And, it follows then that fewer still may know the latest literature on the alleged link between textured implants and anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.
If it seems like your doctor isn’t knowledgeable on the topic; if they are simply following along in the conversation or dismiss your concerns as not a big deal, then consider finding another doctor. A doctor well-versed on the literature will know the risks involved and will treat any abnormalities with the urgency that they warrant.
If an abnormality is discovered, an ultrasound may be ordered; not just a mammogram. The ultrasound will locate any possible fluid buildups which can then be tested for CD30 which is a marker for the disease. If it has been found, the cancer can then be staged with other testing and preparations can then be made for the removal of the implants.
The Times story reports that 85% of the cases thus far show that the cancer has not spread to any other parts of the body. In some cases, women even go back to having implants once the cancer has been cleared.
In any case, close and careful communication between a woman and her doctor is essential to getting the best care and the most effective course of action should a problem arise. If you have any concerns about your implants or your overall health in general, contact your medical professional today.