Woman Claims Breast Implants 'Pushed The Lump Forward'
- A 53-year-old woman, Rebecca Craggs, discovered a lump in her breast that she claims would not have been found if it hadn’t been for breast implant surgery.
- She says she wasn’t due for a mammogram for another two years and is now advocating for all women to get their routine screening done and to always check for any lumps or bumps.
- There is a wide consensus that women should have annual mammograms between the ages of 45 and 54. But there is some disagreement among doctors as to whether mammograms are beneficial for women between the ages of 40 and 45.
- Craggs was diagnosed with grade two invasive lobular breast cancer, a type of breast cancer that starts in the lobules (milk-producing glands) of the breast, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While recovering from breast implant surgery and removing her bandages, Craggs says she felt a hard broad bean-sized lump on her right breast, according to an interview with Daily Mail.Read More
“I had the surgery and it was brilliant and I was really pleased but then two weeks later I was like “oh my gosh, there’s a lump there on the side of my right breast,”” said Craggs. “I think it was the first time I took it [surgical bra and bandages] off and had a look and that’s when I found it.”
Craggs says her heart sank when she discovered the lump and went to the doctor soon after to have the lump looked at. She says she was eventually diagnosed with grade two invasive lobular breast cancer, which is a type of breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules) of the breast, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Invasive cancer means the cancer cells have broken out of the lobule where they began and have the potential to spread to the lymph nodes and other areas of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, according to Craggs her cancer had not spread.
“It was a really weird moment because I knew in my mind, I thought I had it. I didn’t react at all really, I already knew,” said Craggs. “I think a few days later it suddenly hit me.”
Craggs had a lumpectomy to remove the lump and three weeks of radiotherapy. She also had a biopsy of her lymph nodes and doctors removed an extra four millimeters of tissue around her tumor and was later told the margins were clear and her cancer hadn’t spread.
“I’m just counting my lucky stars that I actually had the boob job. Basically it was the implants that pushed the lump forward,” said Craggs, who says she wasn’t due for a mammogram for two years and likely wouldn’t have discovered the lump if not for the surgery.
“It definitely could have saved my life,” said Craggs, who is performing daily breast checks and will go for annual mammograms for the next five years.
Conducting A Breast Exam On Your Own
Breast self-examination is a tremendous tool that can help you in early breast cancer detection, but it should be coupled with routine scans and physical exams.
Tips for doing a breast exam on your own:
Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror.
– Stand with shoulders straight, with hands on hips, and look for the following:
– Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
– Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
– If you notice dimpling, puckering, or bulging, bring this to your doctor’s attention
– Also check with your doctor if a nipple has inverted or changed position; or you see redness, soreness, a rash, or swelling.
Step 2: Raise your arms and look for the same changes
– While you’re facing the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid– or blood).
Step 3: Feel your breasts while lying down:
– Use your right hand to feel your left breast; your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
– Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
– Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women.
– Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Step 4: Feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting.
– Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 3.
The Importance Of Routine Mammograms
As mentioned, home breast exams are not the only way that you should be checking on your body and your health. Routine mammograms and regular doctor appointments are also crucial for keeping up with your body’s health.
“Definitely book a mammogram and check your boobs all the time,” said Craggs. “And if you have got a lump, don’t be scared to go to the doctor because it’s only going to get worse if something’s wrong.”
Mammograms are the most effective way to detect breast cancer. Dr. Connie Lehman, Chief of the Breast Imaging Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, previously spoke to SurvivorNet about the need for annual mammograms between the ages of 45 and 54.
There is an ongoing debate on how early to begin annual mammograms and some doctors would argue in favor of earlier screenings. However, if you fit into the high-risk category, meaning you have a first-degree relative who has had breast cancer, have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, or had radiation to the chest area when you were young, Dr. Lehman says you should start yearly mammogram screening as early as age 30.
“If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, I think it’s very important that you have a mammogram every year,” says Dr. Lehman. “We know that cancers grow more rapidly in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be lifesaving.”
The Bottom Line
You should perform at-home breast exams regularly and if you’re unsure about when you should begin mammogram screening for breast cancer talk to your doctor and get all the facts you need to assess your risk.
Dr. Senyat Agonofer, a Radiologist at Lenox Hill Radiology focused on screening breast cancer, advocates for earlier annual mammograms as a means of catching breast cancer sooner.
“One of the most frustrating things that I see in my office, and my practice is when a patient … comes in with a huge, golf ball breast cancer that could have probably been diagnosed at an earlier age if they were receiving their annual screening mammogram,” said Dr. Agonafer.