Breast Implants Linked To Cancer Deaths

Women with cosmetic breast implants who contract breast cancer are 38 per cent more likely to die than their natural-breasted counterparts, a new study has found. This is because the implants create shadows on mammograms that can obscure some breast tissue, which makes it more difficult to detect breast cancer at an early stage.

Implant picture from Shutterstock

To ascertain whether breast implants increased the risk of terminal breast cancer, researchers from the Public Health Agency of Canada, et al, collated data from 17 previous studies relating to the disease. They discovered a significant link between terminal cancer and cosmetic breast implants, with the risk of dying rising by more than a third.

[The data] showed reduced survival after breast cancer among women who had implants compared with those who did not. This systematic review suggests that women with cosmetic breast implants have later stage tumors at diagnosis of breast cancer [which] adversely affects the survival of women who are diagnosed.

However, the report notes that its findings should be interpreted with caution as some studies did not adjust for other potential confounding factors (such as age at diagnosis and body mass index) and the overall number of studies used was relatively small. (That sound you just heard was a million strippers breathing a sigh of relief.)

Nonetheless, the authors maintain the accumulating evidence suggests that women with cosmetic breast implants who develop breast cancer have an increased risk of being diagnosed as having non-localized breast tumors more frequently than do women with breast cancer who do not have implants. The report concludes that further investigations are warranted.

Breast cancer detection and survival among women with cosmetic breast implants: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies [BMJ]

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