October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Why, of all diseases, does breast cancer warrant a month to itself! This is a very important month and serves as a reminder to women to have a mammogram and to look after the health of their breasts. Many cancers give very few symptoms before they spread or are very difficult to diagnose before there are symptoms. Breast cancer can be easily detected by self-examination or by mammography, yet breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States every year (49,500 annually). And breast cancer in women remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (more than a quarter of a million women each year). There isn’t much we can do to avoid getting breast cancer but better awareness of the disease, more self-examination and regular mammograms for all women would go a long way toward lessening the number who die and increase the number of breast cancer survivors!

I have inserted many thousand breast implants in my career! Implants vary in a number of ways but one of the more important is the surface of the implant. Two types of implants are used in the United States, those with a smooth surface and those with a textured surface. Recently, there has been much talk about a rare lymphoma called BIA-ALCL (Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma) that has been associated with patients who had textured breast implants inserted. I have personally dealt with thousands of breast augmentation patients but have personally never seen a case of BIA-ALCL. This is a rare lymphoma, first reported in 2011, that has occurred in patients with textured breast implants. But if you have textured breast implants in place, I strongly urge you to have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

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Example of a textured implant that Dr. Bunkis had removed from a patient on the left and a smooth implant on the right.

We at Orange County Plastic Surgery obviously have many females in our practice and many have had breast surgery! We encourage all of our patients to come back for an annual breast exam and promote breast cancer awareness every month, not just in October. In addition, my wife, Tina and I support the Believe Walk, a Breast Cancer Awareness Event, in Redlands CA every October. Tina participates as a volunteer and does the walk – I actually work it as a San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department Volunteer Deputy. Here are some photos of last year’s walk:

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