Cosmetic Procedures during Breast Cancer Treatment, Insights on How to Approach The Two

As a board-certified internal medicine physician with an expertise in cosmetic medicine and antiaging, I often work with patients who are dealing with the challenging journey of breast cancer treatment. During this process, I’ve had patients consider cosmetic procedures such as Botox, fillers, or laser treatments to maintain their self-esteem and sense of normalcy. However, I’ve always gone down the path of caution when administering cosmetic procedures during breast cancer treatment. The reason comes down to safety and appropriateness.

Breast cancer treatment can encompass various modalities, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy. Each of these treatments has its unique impact on the body, and their compatibility with cosmetic procedures varies.

1. Botox and Fillers:
Botox and fillers are commonly used to reduce wrinkles and restore facial volume. While there is limited research specifically addressing their safety in breast cancer patients, there is no strong evidence suggesting that these treatments pose significant risks. However, I advise my patients to consult with their oncologist before proceeding with such procedures. In general, I recommend holding off on these treatments while actively going through chemotherapy or radiation, but these can be resumed a few months after the treatments are over. I generally do not recommend getting fillers while patients are undergoing chemo, as fillers are considered to be injectable gel implants and patients are immunocompromised during chemotherapy and at risk for complications.

2. Laser Treatments:
Laser treatments, including skin resurfacing and hair removal, can be performed cautiously during breast cancer treatment. Nevertheless, it is essential to coordinate these procedures with your oncologist and dermatologist. Your oncologist can provide guidance on the timing of laser treatments, considering your overall health and the specific therapies you are undergoing. Additionally, some skin changes related to breast cancer treatment may affect the suitability and effectiveness of laser procedures. The same goes for chemical peels where we rely on skin’s regenerative abilities to give the best outcomes.

Statistics and Risks

While specific statistics on cosmetic procedures during breast cancer treatment may be limited, one study published in the “Journal of Clinical Oncology” found that breast cancer patients who underwent breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy reported improved psychosocial well-being and quality of life. This suggests that certain cosmetic procedures may have a positive impact on a patient’s mental and emotional state during their cancer journey.

However, it is essential to be aware of potential risks. Certain treatments, such as aggressive chemical peels or deep laser resurfacing, may increase the risk of infection or delayed wound healing, which can be more problematic for individuals with compromised immune systems due to cancer treatment. Therefore, choosing minimally invasive or non-invasive procedures like Hydrafacials, dermaplaning with LED light therapy may be a safer approach.

No matter how you decide to proceed, make sure you are working with a board-certified physician who has an understanding of your situation. While there is no conclusive evidence of harm, individual factors and the specific cancer treatment plan should guide decision-making. Ultimately, the goal is to prioritize your well-being and emotional health while ensuring the safety and effectiveness of any cosmetic interventions. I believe that when life throws an unexpected wrench in your way, you call in all reinforcements to help uplift you to get through it as best as you can, and sometimes that may look like a short cosmetic therapy visit.

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