Do breast implants cause breast cancer?

Do breast implants cause breast cancer?

The short and most accurate answer to this very important question is NO. To make such claims needs to be backed up by robust scientific data, so I have summarised it for you here:

Deapen et al: LA County PRS Journal 1997

  • 3182 women with implants (1953-1990) follow up for 18.7 yrs. In this group they found that: there was no evidence of delayed diagnosis or more advanced staging of the breast cancer.
  • Breast Augmentation patients in fact had 31 cancers detected compared with expected 49 in general population.

Bryant & Brasher: Alberta, Canada, NEJM 1995

  • 10,835 women with implants (1973-1990)
  • No evidence for an increased risk of breast cancer.

Does having breast implants adversely effect surveillance and survival of breast cancer?

Breast implant do obscure breast tissue more than native breast without implants but with the advancement of modern imaging techniques this can be circumvented. Screening of breast cancer is a multimodal approach requiring:

1. Clinical examination:
2. Imaging. If a mammogram doesn’t get satisfactory images then an MRI or an Ultrasound will be required.
3. Biopsy of any suspicious lesion

The best available scientific data on breast implants and surveillance of breast cancer are summarised below:

Hoshaw et al, PRS Journal 2001

Meta analysis of current literature.

Concluded that women with implants have no increased risk of breast cancer nor is there a delay in diagnosis, an increased risk of of recurrence or decreased survival.

Jakub et al. Breast Cancer in Patients with Prior Augmentation: Presentation, Stage, and Lymphatic Mapping. PRS Dec 2004;

4186 breast cancer patients in Florida. 78 had prior augmentation.

If the patient had an augmentation:

In fact they were more likely to present with a palpable mass – This is most likely due to smaller volume of breast tissue which is pushed to the surface by the implant making examination easier.

Tumour size, nodal positivity, stage or prognosis was no different to the non-augmented group.

Feel free to read and learn more on my Breast Augmentation procedure page.

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