Breast Cancer and Janice Dickinson: Silicone Dilemmas Part II
With her implants in place, would I want to be the one performing the lumpectomy on Janice Dickinson for her breast cancer? I don’t know Ms. Dickinson, but there is enough information in the public realm to comment on a few of the surgical issues for the treatment of breast cancer in patients with implants.
A few years after replacing her thirty year old implants and enduring a cancer scare at the same time, she developed a real breast cancer that wastreated with a lumpectomy. No doubt, that lumpectomy was a challenge for the surgeons involved.
Bleeding and infection are always problems at surgery. The presence of a an implant complicates the infection picture. The three biggest problems remaining, though, are possible damage of the implant, doing adequate cancer surgery, and having enough tissue to fashion a cosmetically acceptable closure.
How significant these problems are depends on the placement of the implants (under or above the muscle), the amount of native breast tissue remaining, the amount of fibrous tissue and compressed breast tissue that has developed in response to the implants, and the size and location of the tumor (is it resting precariously on top of the implant?).
Those are the surgical issues. I won’t quiz you on them. The emotional issues are more complex and probably more interesting to you.
So many patients say what Ms. Dickinson said after her diagnosis: take the damn implants out; I was stupid to get them in the first place; take my breasts off; do what you need to do; all I care about is the cancer.
I am certain that Ms. Dickinson’s surgeons calmed her down, talked her through a more measured approach, and operated on her successfully oncologically and cosmetically. Yes, it might have been harder. The surgeon may have sweated more when close to the implant….after all, it wasn’t just Ms. Dickinson’s breast that the surgeon(s) was operating on, but her whole person, her image to the world…
Breast cancer and cosmesis–we can deal with both at the same time and not just for the Janice Dickinsons of the world.