After a preventive mastectomy, Lenny van Konijnenburg has undergone no less than seven surgeries on her breasts. During those years, Lenny is confronted with encapsulation and a rupture. In 2021 Lenny (still) suffers from her breast implants. An MRI scan shows the implants are intact. In a Radar broadcast on television, Lenny hears about the Platinum Screen of Hair Diagnostix and decides to order a hair test. The Platinum Screen shows high levels of platinum in Lenny’s hair.
“Preventive mastectomy Yes or No?”
In 1996, Lenny van Konijnenburg’s carefree life came to an end when her sister was confronted with breast cancer. When it turns out later that it is a familial breast cancer variant, Lenny gets screened for this gene mutation and this shows that she is also a carrier of this (erroneous) mutation; The BRCA (BReast CAncer) -1 gene, which increases the risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.
Lenny decided to have her breasts removed preventively in 2000 after a two-year investigation. Unfortunately, her sister dies a year later from the effects of her illness. Because Lenny now has a lot of information about familial breast cancer, she would like to use this information to help fellow sufferers in their decision-making.
At the end of 2006 her book The Right Choice was published. In this book Lenny describes how she first has the firm conviction not to undergo a preventive mastectomy at all and how she still opts for a preventive mastectomy after examination.
In 2013, Lenny was invited by Nieuwsuur to share her story on TV. During this period, American actress Angelina Jolie is also in the news a lot with her similarly hereditary BRCA-1 gene mutation.
“The purpose of the book ‘The Right Choice’ is to help women who are told that they are carriers of the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene mutation to be able to get the right information from the tangle of different opinions of doctors in order to be able to answer the question that is so important to them: “Preventive mastectomy Yes or No?”
Leaking silicone particles
Lenny has frequent surgery on her breasts. A year after amputation, follow-up surgery follows, as the first implants are placed without first stretching the skin. “It didn’t look nice!” To stretch the skin of the breasts, provisional breast implants are placed. Six months after that, the final breast implants follow.
After more than a year, the fourth operation follows, because excess skin is under the armpit and the right breast skews. Two years later, Lenny is in pain from encapsulation of the prosthetics and decides to replace the implants. Eight years later, in 2013, a rupture is discovered and Lenny has new silicone breast prostheses installed for this reason.
The treating surgeon does not initially believe that there is a rupture. Fortunately, the evidence has been recorded and the implants are removed. “After the operation, the surgeon indicated that it was badly needed.”
In 2021 Lenny (again) suffers from her breast implants. An MRI scan shows the implants are still intact. However, in a Radar broadcast on television, Lenny hears about the Platinum Screen of Hair Diagnostix and decides to order a hair test.
One hair makes the differrence
Through a minimally intensive diagnostic tool, Lenny gains insight into whether there are elevated levels of platinum, a by-product in the production of silicone gel, in the body. If there is a rupture or gel bleed, platinum is released into the circulatory system.
By analyzing only a number of head hairs, Hair Diagnostix can determine detectable platinum levels and determines whether the levels in the hair are below, around or above the values of the control group of women without silicone breast implants.
The Platinum Screen shows high levels of platinum in Lenny’s hair. Lenny’s report shows that during the 90 days prior to the time of her withdrawal, platinum levels are above the control group. Lenny doubts the cause lies with the rupture of years ago. The results of the Platinum Screen speed up Lenny’s surgery to remove the implants.
After explantation, Lenny opts for new silicone breast implants. “Because I don’t have breast tissue and am therefore completely flat. The method of implanting my own fat doesn’t work for me. I don’t have enough bodyfat for that. I prefer not to use prosthetics worn outside the body, because I know myself and that I will use every window to see if everything is still straight.
I also do occasional modelling, which I like to do, and it is not an option to be ‘flat’. Although I know I’m probably at risk of health, my happiness in life is worth a little more to me. I always pay close attention to my body, have me periodically preventively screened and never leave the prostheses for more than 10 years before they are replaced.”