On Friday I visited the Scar Project exhibit at Openhouse, on Mulberry Street just south of Spring. Photographer David Jay offers penetrating, large, wall-mounted images of young people with breast cancer. The photos reveal women who’ve have had surgery, radiation, reconstruction or partial reconstruction of the breasts. Some are strikingly beautiful. Some appear confused, others […]
The FDA recently identified a link between breast implants and a rare form of lymphoma. From today’s report in the New York Times: When talking to patients about a rare type of cancer linked to breast implants, plastic surgeons should call it “a condition” and avoid using the words cancer, tumor, disease or malignancy, the […]
I have to admit that when I first read about the FDA’s report tying rare cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma to breast implants, my mind raced with a strange blend of excitement, intense interest and concern. My thoughts shifted from “wow, that’s really interesting” to “exactly what did the FDA find” to “should I be worried?”
So I’ve decided to write this morning’s post from my perspective as an oncologist
It’s a Pandora’s box, but one that needs be opened. The problem is that if we biopsy every abnormality – such as a minor thickening or fluid accumulation adjacent to a breast implant – we’ll hike up the costs and, more importantly, the complications associated: With every needle stick there’s a risk of infection, additional scar formation and more. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to overlook a treatable, early-stage lymphoma. Women need to know of the risks of implants, which can only be determined if doctors thoroughly investigate these sorts of complications.
The cover of the November print edition of Wired features large, unnatural-appearing cleavage. Inside and toward the back of the issue, a curious article ties together stem cells and the future of breast reconstruction. It got my attention. The detailed and admittedly interesting piece, by Sharon Begley, describes what’s science or science fiction: first humans, […]
The reality is that many women, particularly poor women without newspapers or internet access in their homes, don’t know about any of this. They don’t know their insurance covers pretty much all of these options, by law. Now they will, or should as of Jan 1, 2011. Good. The other curiosity is that …