Breast cancer stands as the most prevalent cancer diagnosis among women in Australia, with approximately 57 Australians being diagnosed daily, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
These staggering numbers highlight the critical importance of prioritizing breast health.
Whether you have undergone an augmentation Mammaplasty or not, the significance of performing regular breast self-exams (BSE) and scheduling routine mammograms cannot be overstated. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the process for women who have had an augmentation Mammaplasty differs.
Mammogram: What is it?
A mammogram, often referred to as a breast screening, plays a crucial role in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. Typically conducted by a radiologist using a low-dose X-ray system, this screening method aids in identifying abnormalities that may indicate breast health issues.
BreastScreen Queensland recommends that women between the ages of 50 to 74 undergo mammography once every two years. However, the frequency of mammograms may vary on a case-by-case basis, and it is advisable to discuss an appropriate schedule with your General Practitioner (GP).
Can I have a mammogram if I have breast implants?
Yes, having breast implants should not deter you from being regularly screened according to your needs.
However, it’s essential to be aware of the unique considerations and potential risks associated with mammograms for individuals with breast implants.
BreastScreen Queensland highlights some of the differences to be mindful of:
• Longer appointments may lead to increased exposure to radiation. Nevertheless, research indicates that the benefits of regular breast screens outweigh the risk of radiation.
• Discomfort may occur due to the need to move implants around during the screening.
• There’s a small chance that some cancers may go undetected.
• There’s a small chance that the shape of your breasts may be altered.
• There’s a small chance that the pressure from the breast screening machine could rupture your implants.
Always inform the healthcare professional conducting your mammogram that you have breast implants, even if it is assumed that they should ask.
Breast Self Exam
How do I conduct a breast self-exam with implants?
Whilst many women have years of experience with knowing their breasts shape, curves and feel, woman who have recently undergone an augmentation Mammaplasty are working with potentially unfamiliar territory.
Get to know your breasts. Understanding how your implants sit, where your implant begins, and how your breasts look and feel is the first step. Through knowing this, it will aid in the identification of anomalies.
Once you have a sense of familiarity, begin by visually inspecting your breasts in the mirror. Take note of any changes in size, shape, or skin texture. Use your fingertips to feel for lumps, masses, or abnormalities in both breasts, paying close attention to areas around the implants.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation emphasizes the importance of remaining breast-aware for women of all ages. Regardless of your age, understanding your breasts is crucial. It is recommended to conduct breast self-exams ideally once a month.
If you observe any changes or have concerns, seek prompt consultation with your healthcare provider. While this serves as a general guide, it’s essential to prioritize the advice of your healthcare provider, recognizing that individual needs may vary.
Stay informed, stay vigilant, and take charge of your breast health journey.