Breast Cancer Awareness for Women with Implants: Self-Examination Guide

September 19, 2023
Breast Cancer Awareness for Women with Implants: Self-Examination Guide

Navigating breast health becomes even more significant for women with breast implants. This comprehensive guide provides valuable insights into understanding breast implants, adapting self-examination techniques, overcoming challenges, and prioritizing emotional well-being. 

Additionally, we'll explore the importance of mammography and offer guidance on seeking support and treatment.

Understanding Breast Implants and Breast Health

When it comes to your well-being, breast health holds a vital place on the priority list. This importance extends to all women, including those who have chosen to enhance their breasts with implants. These implants come in a variety of types, each with its own set of characteristics that influence how they look and feel:

You have saline implants, which are filled with a sterile saltwater solution, providing a consistent shape and firmness. Then there are silicone implants, filled with silicone gel that closely mimics the texture of natural breast tissue. Textured implants feature a rough surface, strategically designed to minimize the formation of scar tissue and keep the implant in place. On the other hand, smooth implants have a softer outer shell, allowing for a more natural movement within the breast pocket.

Considering breast health means considering how implants can influence certain aspects of it. For instance, during self-examinations, the presence of implants requires some special attention. The feel and texture might be different, which means it's essential to adapt your self-exam technique to accommodate the implant. And when it comes to mammography, the process of breast cancer screening, there are specific techniques that have been developed to ensure accurate results for women with implants.

Let's clear up a common misconception too. Breast implants do not cause breast cancer. This is an important point to understand, as your regular screenings and health checks remain just as crucial, regardless of having implants. 

Tailoring Self-Examination Techniques for Women with Implants

Ensuring your breast health remains a top priority, and this holds especially true for women with breast implants. When it comes to self-examinations, a slightly modified approach can make a significant difference. Here's how you can tailor your self-exam technique to suit your circumstances:

  • Mindful Touch: Start by becoming familiar with how your implants feel. Gently press around the implant area, noting its texture and shape. This baseline understanding will help you identify any changes more effectively.
  • Be Comprehensive: While examining your breasts, don't just focus on the implant itself. You'll want to feel the surrounding tissue as well. Lumps can still develop in the natural breast tissue, so make sure you're covering all areas.
  • Consistent Routine: Maintaining a regular self-exam routine is vital. Whether it's monthly or as advised by your healthcare provider, consistency ensures that you're always attuned to your body and can detect any changes promptly.
  • Variations in Technique: Depending on the type of implant you have, you might find slight variations in the feel. Silicone implants, for example, tend to feel more like natural breast tissue. Understanding these nuances can help you differentiate between normal implant feel and any potential irregularities.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: If you're unsure about the right way to conduct a self-exam with implants, don't hesitate to consult your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized guidance and demonstrate the technique that best suits your situation.

Mammography and Screening for Women with Breast Implants

Screening for breast cancer remains a crucial aspect of maintaining your breast health, and as a woman with breast implants, there are specific considerations to keep in mind when it comes to mammography:

  • Importance of Mammograms: Mammograms are powerful tools for detecting breast cancer at an early stage. They can identify changes that might not be noticeable through self-exams alone.
  • Techniques for Accuracy: Women with breast implants may need special techniques to ensure accurate results. The Eklund displacement technique is often used, which pushes the implant back against the chest wall while the breast tissue is pulled forward. Additional views may also be taken to capture all angles effectively.
  • Communication with Radiologists: When scheduling your mammogram, inform the radiology center about your implants. This gives them a heads-up to allocate more time for your appointment and use the appropriate techniques for clearer images.
  • Regular Screening: Just like any woman, regular breast cancer screening is vital for your health. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 for most women, but you should discuss your personal screening plan with your healthcare provider.
  • Ultrasound and MRI: In some cases, your healthcare provider might recommend additional screening methods, such as ultrasound or MRI, depending on your individual situation and the type of implants you have.

By staying informed about these considerations and maintaining open communication with your healthcare team, you can ensure that your breast cancer screenings are effective and tailored to your specific needs. Early detection remains your best ally in the fight against breast cancer, and these screening techniques are designed to give you the best chance at a healthy future.

At BASS Cancer Center, we understand the unique needs of women with breast implants. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing you with the best treatment services tailored to your situation. Your breast health matters, and we're honored to be part of your journey towards a healthier and happier you.

Contact us today to schedule your personalized consultation and take the next proactive step in your breast health journey. Your well-being is our priority.