Breast cancer occurs in tissues dense with ducts and glands, and may spread throughout the body. About one in every eight women in North America develops breast cancer in her lifetime. Because of the safety issues surrounding silicone in medical devices and the incidence rate of breast cancer in the human population, questions concerning increased risks of developing breast cancer for women with breast implants have been raised.
>Most studies using standard mammography have shown no difference in the average time to detect breast cancer between women with and without breast implants, nor have they shown a difference in the stage of disease detected. However, because implants may interfere with standard mammography by obscuring some underlying tissue and/or by compressing overlying tissue, you should inform your radiologist about your implants and request diagnostic mammography.
Specifically, your radiologist should be experienced with current mammographic displacement techniques (such as the Eklund technique) for imaging the breast tissue around the implants and should provide you with multiple mammographic views. Diagnostic mammography may facilitate early diagnosis of small masses that may be difficult to see with standard mammography.
>As the following clinical studies indicate, the likelihood of developing breast cancer does not seem to increase with the use of silicone breast implants.
A 1986 University of Southern California study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery investigated over 3,000 women in the Los Angeles area who received silicone breast implants between 1959 and 1980. Results found no increased risk of breast cancer following breast implant surgery compared to standard incidence ratios.
A 1992 five year update of this study followed the same group and confirmed the original findings.
A 1992 University of Calgary study published in the New England Journal of Medicine investigated over 11,000 women in Alberta, Canada who received silicone breast implants between 1973 and 1986. This study, “did not find an increased risk of cancer among women who had received breast implants, although the length of follow-up, the completeness of follow-up, and the size of the cohort would have allowed the detection of such a risk.”
A 1996 Georgia, New Jersey, and Washington study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, investigated over 2,000 women with breast implants. The results of this study are consistent with those of the Los Angeles and Alberta studies, finding no association between silicone breast implants and breast cancer.
A 2000 brochure published by the Institute of Medicine, Information for Women About the Safety of Silicone Breast Implants reports “Evidence clearly shows that silicone breast implants do not cause breast cancer or the recurrence of breast cancer. In fact, some studies suggest that women with breast implants have fewer new or recurring cancers.”