Shirley Ballas, 59, has had her breast implants removed, a decision she made in order to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer.
Shirley, who has previously revealed her family’s history with the deadly disease, was warned by doctors that the implants can block the early signs of it being detected.
Speaking before the operation, and after her appearance at the Pride of Britain Awards on Monday night, the head judge thanked her Instagram followers for all their “positive” and “beautiful” messages.
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It was revealed that Shirley was initially alerted to the cancer scare and learned there was a history of the disease in her family while shooting her episode of Who Do You Think You Are? in 2018.
Commenting on the experience at the time, Shirley said: “I’ve had breast augmentation.
“It makes me step back and think when you go for these mammograms – ‘Can you see at the back? Is it clear what you can see?’ It’s making me sit back and think – ‘Shall I remove them? Would it be a good safety precaution for me?”
Alarm bells were raised following the revelation that Shirley’s mum, Audrey, 82, was diagnosed with colon cancer last year, and after being warned by a nurse, Shirley decided to have her implants removed immediately.
Speaking to The Sun, she revealed a nurse’s warning that there was “no guarantee that we can ever really see behind the back of the implants” enforced her decision to go ahead with the removal operation.
“My doctor says I have recuperation of a week but I want to do Strictly on the Saturday night.
“It’s not like I have to dance and do the cha cha cha or the samba. I spoke to the BBC and they have been very, very supportive. They said you have to do what you feel most comfortable for your health.”
Evidence has previously raised concerns about the link between breast implants and the threat to breast cancer detection.
A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal analysed the results of 12 studies published after 1993, mainly in the US, northern Europe and Canada.
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The lead authors authors, epidemiologist Eric Lavigne and Professor Jacques Brisson Québec university hospital’s research centre, found that women with implants had a 26 percent increased risk of being diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer than women without.
Furthermore, turning to five other studies that dealt with outcomes, the researchers found they found that women with implants had a 38 percent higher risk of death from breast cancer than those without.
Although the researchers acknowledge the study’s limitations, they said: “The accumulating evidence suggests that women with cosmetic breast implants who develop breast cancer have an increased risk of being diagnosed as having non-localised breast tumours [tumours that have spread and are therefore more dangerous] more frequently than do women with breast cancer who do not have implants.”
The evidence also suggests that implants “adversely affect breast cancer specific survival following the diagnosis of such disease,” they added.
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Dr Caitlin Palframan, of the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, agreed on the need for caution: “Although it shows reduced breast cancer survival rates among women who had breast implants at the time of diagnosis, the findings are not conclusive and more research is definitely needed before we can fully understand the effect of breast implants on survival,” she said.
“We know there is some concern about whether breast implants make breast cancer more difficult to detect by mammogram, which could delay diagnosis, so we encourage women attending mammograms to inform their screening service that they have breast implants to ensure that all breast tissue is completely examined.
“Early detection offers the best chance of successful treatment, so we urge every woman with or without implants to be breast aware by regularly checking their breasts for any changes.”
Julia Frater, Cancer Research UK’s senior cancer information nurse, said: “This research suggests that breast implants may make cancer harder to detect, leading to later diagnosis. But it needs confirming in larger studies. Any woman who notices changes in the look or feel of her breasts should visit the GP for a checkup.”
Shirley believes her implants have also been the cause of her chronic fatigue, although it has yet to be confirmed that is the cause.
Shirley said: “There are rumours that the scar tissues causes chronic fatigue which I have suffered with even over the last year. Usually I don’t get tired and I’m like the Energizer Bunny.
Shirley previously revealed she had a cancer scare following a routine check-up and urged other women, particularly those over the age of 50, to get themselves checked.
Shirley appeared last Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing and has made a full recovery since the operation.
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