Can breast cancer still be detected if I have breast implants?


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Mammograms to detect breast cancer are recommended for all women, especially if you are fifty years old and over. Breast cancer can still be detected if you have implants, but they will affect how the mammogram procedure is done – therefore if you go for a mammogram, it is very important that you mention to the radiographer or mammogram technologist that you have breast implants. The presence of implants can complicate how mammogram images are interpreted, so pictures must be taken slightly differently. It is also quite possible that you may have to go back again for more pictures to be taken. Although this can mean more time and more radiation, it is worth it as the possible detection of cancer outweighs the extra radiation you face. Some possible complications that can occur with mammograms if you have breast implants include the presence of calcium deposits in your breast which can build up due to the implant, and which can be mistaken for possible cancer. Because your breasts are squashed and squeezed during a mammogram, this makes the implants a little more likely to rupture – another reason it is important to tell your radiographer or technologist that you have implants. Nevertheless, since many women have breast implants, these days the doctors who perform mammograms are used to dealing with breasts with implants, and a mammogram should not be a problem. If you do unfortunately get cancer, having implants should not affect any therapies or treatments you have. However, if it is breast cancer, there is a good chance that the implants may have to be removed.


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