Breast cancer doesn't have to mean losing your breast

Research published in the July issue of The Breast Journal emphasizes that women who have breast implants and are diagnosed with breast cancer have the option of breast conservation, rather than just mastectomy.

Breast augmentation is rapidly becoming one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgeries in the US with data showing a 460% increase in procedures from 1997-2005, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Along with this increase in breast implants, concerns associated with screening, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are also rising.

In this study, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia reviewed the medical histories of twelve women with breast implants and who were later diagnosed with breast cancer. MRI was performed on five patients to provide further evaluation and identify the extent of the disease. Of these five patients, four were treated with breast conservation therapy (BCT) and the remaining patient received a mastectomy. Of the patients who did not receive MRI, five were treated with mastectomy and two with BCT. Of the six patients treated with BCT, all retained an overall satisfactory appearance and did not require implant removal or breast reconstruction.

“Options provided to augmented patients suffering from breast cancer are limited as compared to the general population, with most augmented patients receiving modified radical mastectomy,” states Dr. Anne Rosenberg of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Due to reduced visibility of mammography (up to 44%) in women with breast implants, researchers stress the importance of self or clinical examination, which has shown to be key in primary identification of smaller tumors, sometimes missed by routine screening mammography. The researchers suggest that the increased self-awareness in augmented women of their bodies or breasts further adds to the efficacy of a breast exam.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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