The risk of breast cancer is something that concerns women across all age groups, and you may be wondering if a breast reduction has the potential to reduce the possibility of developing breast cancer.
In this article, we will explore the relationship between breast reduction and cancer risk, to help you understand how a reduction may benefit you.
Should you be interested in pursuing a breast reduction, the CREO Clinic’s board-certified cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Omar Tillo, has extensive experience performing many successful breast reductions.
Breast Reduction and Cancer Prevention
Breast reduction has been shown to lower the risk of cancer, principally by decreasing the quantity of breast tissue in which cancer can develop. It is important to understand that breast reduction cannot prevent cancer from developing, but can reduce the area in which cancerous cells can develop.
A prophylactic mastectomy is an elective procedure during which the surgeon removes one or both breasts entirely; this is designed to drastically reduce the chance of cancer developing. This is often performed on women who have been identified as high risk for breast cancer, or on those who have previously been diagnosed with it.
Breast Reduction for Postmenopausal vs. Premenopausal Women
In general, reduction surgery offers a more significant decrease in cancer risk in women who are postmenopausal.
In postmenopausal women, the risk of cancer goes up as your BMI increases, which means that the more weight you put on, the larger the cancer risk, and the greater the quantity of breast tissue in which cancer can develop.
In pre-menopausal women, a larger breast size at a young age has been associated with greater risk of pre-menopause breast cancer. This is not necessarily related to a higher BMI.
Breast Reduction After Cancer Diagnosis
After a cancer diagnosis, it is possible that a breast reduction procedure is performed in conjunction with the removal of a tumour to achieve both, the treatment of cancer and the aesthetic reduction of the breast. This is called oncoplastic surgery and can take the form of a minor reduction, or in some cases a larger one.
Some women may seek a breast reduction long after having a lumpectomy in order to improve the shape of the treated breast or to correct the asymmetry in volume or shape between the two breasts.
The risk-reducing mastectomy is an extreme type of breast reduction where the whole breast tissue is removed (mastectomy) in order to reduce the risk of cancer to the very minimum. This is performed in patients with extremely high risk of cancer such as carriers of the breast cancer gene.
Does Insurance Cover Risk-Reducing Surgeries?
Understanding how to cover the cost of breast reduction, or other risk reducing surgeries like a breast lift, is always an important part of the planning process. At the CREO Clinic, breast reduction and breast lifts start from £8,900 and £8,500 respectively.
Whether an insurance company will cover the cost of these risk-reducing surgeries depends greatly on the company and its qualifying criteria.
Health insurance companies tend to make similar decisions to the NHS regarding the coverage of cosmetic procedures, but it is worth checking with your insurance provider before making any decisions.
Can You Get Breast Reduction on the NHS?
Currently, the NHS doesn’t cover purely cosmetic breast reduction. You may qualify for breast reduction on the NHS if you are having severe functional problems, but you need to meet strict criteria.
There are national and regional NHS criteria for covering risk-reducing surgery. Depending on the severity of your medical issues and level of cancer, you may meet these criteria and therefore be entitled to coverage.
Breast Cancer and Plastic Surgery Myths
One famous myth surrounding breast reduction surgery is that it may actually cause breast cancer – this is untrue. There is no evidence that cosmetic surgery increases risk of breast cancer.
Other Benefits of Breast Reduction
A reduction procedure can have a wide array of important benefits at both an aesthetic and medical level. Reducing the size of your breasts can:
- Alleviate Back Pain – Larger breasts can cause an arching of the spine which leads to painful backache. Removing the excess weight can help prevent this.
- Encourage An Active Lifestyle – It can often be painful to do exercise with large breasts, so a reduction can allow you to feel freer, and more comfortable when active.
- Open Up A New Wardrobe – Lowering your cup size can help to resolve the issue of clothes stretching tightly around your chest, giving you a whole new set of fashion choices.
Is Breast Reduction Worth It?
Whether a breast reduction is worth it for you is a deeply personal decision, worthy of careful consideration.
However, it is important to note that breast reduction is one of the cosmetic surgeries with the highest levels of patient satisfaction. The transformative effect a reduction can have on your quality of life is something of profound value to many of the women who undergo one.
A reduction can make the area of tissue that is vulnerable to cancer smaller, which can be an important motivation for women seeking to minimise their risk of developing breast cancer.
Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today
To better understand what reduction surgery could do for you, book a consultation with Dr. Omar Tillo, the CREO Clinic’s experienced cosmetic surgeon.
Dr. Tillo has extensive experience in breast reduction procedures, and can use his knowledge to collaborate with you on a personalised treatment plan, designed specifically to achieve your goals for your body.