Can Breast Implants Cause Cancer?
Almost 300,000 women in 2017 chose to go under the knife for breast augmentation.
As you can see,breast surgery is a very popular plastic surgery choice. Whether it’s for reconstruction after breast cancer or just for a boost of self-confidence, implants can improve your quality of life. So you may be considering having the procedure done yourself.
When it comes to this surgery, you may have many questions and concerns. You may worry about complications during the procedure itself. Or you wonder about how they feel afterward and how they affect your daily life.
But what about the after-effects? Is it possible for noticeable scarring to happen? Or, more importantly, can breast implants cause cancer?
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of breast implants and if they can cause any types of cancer.
Types of Breast Implants
When you want to augment your breasts, there are two choices available for you: saline or silicone gel. We explain each one below.
Saline Breast Implants
These implants have a shell made of silicone but are filled with saline water. Depending on the type your doctor chooses for you, it can either come pre-filled with the saltwater or it can be filled during the procedure.
In comparison to silicone gel implants, saline ones carry less risk since if they leak, all that your body’s exposed to is sterile saline water.
Silicone Gel Breast Implants
These implants also have silicone shells but instead of being filled with salt water, they’re filled with silicone gel instead. This silicone gel gives them a more realistic feel than saline implants do.
However, if they leak, it can cause problems because of the silicone in the implants.
So Can Breast Implants Cause Cancer?
The straightforward answer is: yes, women with breast implants have an increased, but still extremely low, risk of developing cancer, but surprisingly not breast cancer. Your chances of developing any depend on the type of implant you have. We go into more detail about each type of cancer below.
Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma(BIA-ALCL)
BIA-ALCL is a rarely occurring condition and is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It can happen to women who have either types of breast implants.
Back in 2011, the FDA suspected linkage of this cancer to breast implants. They thought the statistics were 1 in a million, which is a superbly low number. But in recent years, that number’s gone up with more cases discovered.
But you shouldn’t worry too much about BIA-ALCL affecting you. Even though stats are showing numbers are higher than thought, only 414 women with implants have reported having cancer. This means the chances of you getting this type of cancers is almost impossible.
Even if you do manage to develop BIA-ALCL, it’s a very curable condition. Most cases of this cancer were diagnosed within seven to eight years of the procedure. It’s important to get checkups with your doctor regularly so they can catch this cancer and treat it in its early stages before it gets too serious.
BIA-ALCL seems to happen more often in textured vs smooth implants, so if you’re still considering them, you may want to lean towards getting smooth implants.
Textured implants reduce the chances of your implants moving around since they promote adherence of scar tissue to the implant. But smooth implants have the softest texture, so also keep that in mind when you’re deciding on the implants you want.
Since breast implants are placed into your breasts, you may be particularly concerned about this type of cancer.
The good news is, your chances of getting breast cancer aren’t increased if you have breast implants. A study done in 2015 found no connection between implants and a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
So if this was the main factor in holding you back from getting implants, this should be a major obstacle that’s removed now.
What Should I Do if I Already Have Implants?
Don’t panic. If you already have breast implants, you won’t have to take any drastic measure like removing them.
Not having any problems with them currently? Then you don’t need to take any actions. Instead, you should be proactive about your health.
Make sure you regularly visit your doctor for checkups. If you feel like anything is wrong at any point, don’t delay in making an appointment. You should do so right away, since the earlier you catch cancer (or any other type of disease), the better.
Treatment options for cancers are less invasive and disruptive to your daily life if you catch it early. But if your body and breast implants feel fine, chances are, you’ll be fine.
When Should I Be Concerned?
In general, your breast implants should heal up with no complications after your operation. Some pain and swelling is normal, but your breasts should look and feel normal after a certain period of time.
If you still have swelling, lumps, pain, or anything else that seems odd, don’t hesitate to give your doctor a call. They’ll be able to assess your situation and possibly have a breast biopsy done if necessary.
By being proactive about your health, you can avoid more serious complications with your implants, even if it turns out to not be cancer.
Take Care of Your Body
So can breast implants cause breast cancer? There have been no documented cases of this happening. Can breast implants cause other types of cancer? Yes, they might, but the chances are so low there’s practically no risk. With the one cancer linked to implants (BIA-ALCL), it’s so easily caught that even if you’re one of the unlucky ones, you’ll be easily and quickly cured.
The important thing when you get breast implants is to be aware of your body’s changes and reactions. Your doctor will explain everything that could potentially happen, so keep an eye out. If you have any atypical symptoms or reactions, not on your doctor’s list, never hesitate to give them a call.
Also, don’t forget to get regular mammograms and MRIs done. Although normally reserved for women who are older, mammograms can detect any abnormal changes. MRIs can also detect any leaks in silicone gel implants.
Are you due for a mammogram soon? Then you should look into having a digital mammogram done at our clinic! If you want to go to our clinic in Paterson, contact us at 973-977-6662 and if you want to see us in Flemington, contact us at 908-284-2300.