Does breast reduction reduce the risk of developing breast cancer?

Does breast reduction reduce the risk of developing breast cancer?

24th Aug 2019


Breast reduction surgery is performed worldwide with the aim of reducing the volume of the breasts to alleviate the pain and discomfort that women with overly large breasts are confronted with every day. The procedure entails the removal of the part of the mammary gland tissue that is in excess. Despite a very common belief, breast reduction doesn’t deal with the excess of fat in the breasts. Women who have overly large breasts have a glandular tissue in excess, not an excess of adipose tissue. However, it is true that an adipose layer can start to accumulate in the surrounding areas and all over the body as a result of the fact that patients with large breasts often find it difficult or painful to perform physically demanding activities and sports. 

A concern of the patients who wish to undergo this procedure is how it is related to the risk of developing breast cancer. Up until some time ago, it was believed that any interference to the breasts had the potential to cause breast cancer. Nowadays after many decades of studies, we know for sure that breast implants don’t increase or affect the risk of developing breast cancer, and the same is valid for breast reduction surgery. In fact, patients undergoing breast enhancement procedures can actually be able to discover breast cancer earlier than women who don’t have implants as yearly testing is recommended for patients undergoing breast augmentation.

When it comes to breast reduction surgery, the procedure targets the excess of mammary gland tissue. This means that the plastic surgeon will eliminate a part of this tissue. Breast cancer starts in the glandular tissue. If the patient has less tissue as a result of undergoing breast reduction, it means there are slightly fewer chances to develop breast cancer. 

If you are concerned about breast cancer or you have a family history of breast cancer, you should bring this up during the pre-operative consultation. Also, make sure to choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to play out your procedure and guide you towards getting the best aesthetic results possible.

Also, keep in mind that the procedure should only be performed after a thorough medical examination and after taking the tests recommended. Among these tests, there will be a breast echography or mammography that has the purpose of discovering any abnormal breast tissues that can be present that can make the patient ineligible for the procedure. The test is important as the procedure should only be performed if there are no abnormal formations present in the breasts. Otherwise, the recommendation is to treat the formations first and then schedule the procedure. 

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