Breast Implants and Breast Cancer: A Review of Incidence, Detection, Mortality, and Survival

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Abstract

Summary:

Soon after breast implants were commercially introduced over 30 years ago, questions about potential carcinogenicity were raised. Animal experiments dating back to the mid-twentieth century demonstrated that foreign body implantation of many materials, including silicone, can induce sarcomas. Indeed, female breast cancer incidence rates in the United States have increased substantially over that period. Of the several published studies from various countries that have formally investigated the risk of breast cancer among augmentation mammaplasty patients, none show any evidence of increased risk. In fact, most find lower than expected risk, some with statistically significant reductions. Similarly, breast cancer mortality among these patients is generally found to be below that expected of other similar women. Delayed detection of breast cancer is a concern for these patients because implants can interfere with mammography. However, using indicators such as stage at diagnosis and tumor size, current research shows that augmentation patients do not experience delayed detection. Furthermore, several comparisons of post–breast cancer survival of augmented versus nonaugmented patients have found no significant differences. In summary, breast implants are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer incidence or death, and these patients do not experience delayed detection or poorer post–breast cancer survival.

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