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Got a big head? How it could increase your risk for breast cancer

Updated: Oct. 17, 2019 at 7:16 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Have you been told you have a "big head"? I don't mean in the narcissistic way.

The literal way.

Do you have a large head? If yes, do you know it may increase your risk for breast cancer?

No kidding. Meet a Hampton Cove mom, Kristin Anthony who used her head to get to the bottom of her cancers and that of so many others.

Anthony is an athlete who’s taught spin classes for 10 years. Cancer, though, interrupted her cadence three times.

“I have had thyroid cancer and I have had melanoma twice," she said. As if that wasn’t enough “My mom had two breast cancers and later passed away with a type of kidney cancer."

A mother-daughter cancer coincidence? No.

“I have a genetic mutation of the PTEN gene which I was born with," said Anthony.

PTEN is the second most mutated gene in all of human cancer. With this genetic mutation at birth, you can be at risk at developing breast cancer, a 85 percent lifetime chance.

Anthony rattled off a litany of cancers she’s had and could have, including thyroid, melanoma, endometrial, kidney and colon cancers.

Oddly enough, besides cancer, PTEN mutations show up on your cranium.

Yes, a PTEN mutation can affect the size of your head and so much of what goes on inside. It can be as simple as macrocephaly, which is a large head size. So, if your hat doesn’t fit, you might question whether you have macrocephaly.

A PTEN mutation can also put a person at risk for other neurological issues and conditions, according to Anthony.

"Developmental delays. We have some children locally that are affected with autism,” she said.

Some of those who carry this mutation also have growths that appear above or below the skin: lipomas, keratosis, trichilemmomas, fibromas. This mutation can also display in the roof a person’s mouth,

“We have patients with a high-arched pallet in their mouth,” Anthony said.

She learned so much about PTEN, what it does and how it functions in the human body and what can happen if you carry a PTEN mutation, that she started the PTEN Foundation.

That’s how she met Andrea Beilstein.

“My mother died of breast cancer. Everyone except for me in my family has huge heads. That was one of the things. We had thyroid issues. My mom had breast cancer. We had breast health issues, endometrial issues,” Beilstein said.

Today, Beilstein, mother of four, is about to turn 50. She tested positive for the PTEN mutation and now works with Anthony in the PTEN Foundation headquartered in Huntsville.

Doctors are watching Beilstein closely. She has yet to have cancer but she knows prophylactic surgeries are in her future.

Anthony already took those steps: a preventative hysterectomy and bilateral mastectomies, reconstructed with breast implants. Implants that now are coming out because they’ve been recalled by the FDA, The texture on the implants are causing an inflammatory reaction and some patients are developing a certain cancer related to that called breast implant associated type of lymphoma.

Another potential cancer around every corner for Anthony. But instead of putting the brakes on her life, she’s shifting gears and working together with Beilstein and HudsonAlpha on PTEN research. Both women say learning the diagnosis early can help you get the proper screening and “help you ask the right questions so we don’t have patients end up with a Stage 4 BRCA and wonder where that came from,” said Anthony.

We have more information about the PTEN mutation and the PTEN Foundation here.

https://ptenfoundation.org/

https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/12800/pten-hamartoma-tumor-syndrome

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2998728/

For those who’ve had breast implants post-cancer or for cosmetic reasons, check the implant recall information below. If you find your implants have been recalled, please discuss your next steps with your physician.

Here is the latest list of recalled breast implants (textured) and tissue expanders, that include Allergan (formerly McGhan and Inamed)

For a quick scan, here are the affected products:

Allergan Natrelle Saline-Filled Breast Implants (formerly McGhan RTV Saline-Filled Mammary Implant) approved under P990074. The following are the textured styles:

  • Style 163 – BIOCELL Textured Shaped Full Height, Full Projection Saline Breast Implants
  • Style 168 – BIOCELL Textured Round Moderate Profile Saline Breast Implants, also referred to as 168MP (168 Moderate Profile)
  • Style 363 – BIOCELL Textured Shaped Moderate Height, Full Projection Saline Breast Implants, Allergan catalog includes 363LF, or 363 Low Height Full Projection
  • Style 468 – BIOCELL Textured Shaped Full Height Moderate Projection Saline Breast Implants

Allergan Natrelle Silicone-Filled Textured Breast Implants (formerly Inamed Silicone-Filled Breast Implants) approved under P020056. The following are the textured styles:

  • Style 110 – BIOCELL Textured Round Moderate Projection Gel Filled Breast Implants
  • Style 115 – BIOCELL Textured Round Midrange Projection Gel Filled Breast Implants
  • Style 120 - BIOCELL Textured Round High Projection Gel Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TRL - Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Responsive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TRLP - Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Responsive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TRM - Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Responsive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TRF - Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Responsive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TRX - Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Responsive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TCL – Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Cohesive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TCLP – Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Cohesive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TCM – Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Cohesive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TCF – Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Cohesive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TCX – Natrelle Inspira BIOCELL Textured Cohesive Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TSL – Natrelle BIOCELL Textured Soft Touch Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TSLP – Natrelle BIOCELL Textured Soft Touch Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TSM – Natrelle BIOCELL Textured Soft Touch Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TSF – Natrelle BIOCELL Textured Soft Touch Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
  • Style TSX – Natrelle BIOCELL Textured Soft Touch Silicone-Filled Breast Implants

Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone Filled Breast Implants approved under P040046. The following are the textured styles:

  • Style 410FM
  • Style 410FF
  • Style 410MM
  • Style 410 MF
  • Style 410 FL
  • Style 410 ML
  • Style 410 LL
  • Style 410 LM
  • Style 410 LF
  • Style 410 FX
  • Style 410 MX
  • Style 410 LX

Allergan tissue expanders for the breast that have BIOCELL texturing originally cleared as:

  • Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander (K143354)
  • Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs (K102806)

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