Prior to breast surgery
Before embarking on any breast surgery, it is important to consider the impact that the surgery may have on future breast cancer surveillance.
It is recommended for all women over fifty years of age to undergo screening for breast cancer. If you are considered to be at a higher risk of breast cancer due to your family history, you may be suitable for screening at an earlier age. If you are concerned about your risk, you can explore the Breast Screen Australia web site or consult your general practitioner for further information. If you do in fact fall into a high-risk category, it is best to discuss your situation with a breast cancer surgeon before embarking on breast surgery. Dr Lam would be glad to refer you to an appropriate breast cancer surgeon if required.
If there is any question concerning the health of your breasts, it is always better to have your breasts screened by your GP prior to any breast related surgery. This would involve at least a physical examination, mammogram and tissue sampling if required.
Breast screening following breast reduction or breast lifting
If you are having either a breast reduction or breast lift, your breast tissue will need a period of healing before you start or revisit your regular breast screening. This is usually at least 6 months after your surgery. The changes in tissue architecture and scarring from the surgery will not impede any future breast screening after this time.
When a breast reduction or breast lift is performed, the tissue removed is routinely tested for occult disease. It is very rare to come across incidental breast cancer in this setting. If this does occur, further treatment will be referred to a multi-disciplinary team of specialists.
Breast screening following breast augmentation
If you are having a breast augmentation, your breast tissue will need a period of healing before you start or revisit your regular breast screening. This is usually at least 6 months after your surgery. Screening around breast implants is possible with displacement mammogram views, with ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging. Having breast implants will not impede any future breast screening.
Breast screening following breast cancer surgery
If you have had a breast cancer that has required either a lumpectomy or mastectomy, with or without a reconstruction, further surveillance will depend on a number of factors that will determine the frequency of the screening you will require. Even after a total mastectomy there is small risk of breast cancer recurrence. Breast cancer surveillance following breast cancer treatment is highly tailored to your situation. Only your breast cancer surgeon can counsel you about this.