Breast Cancer Patients With Implants Fare as Well as Others
WebMD News Archive
However, she notes, "We found that mammography still missed quite a few
of these breast cancers. Mammography is very good in women who don't have
breast implants; we picked up 97% of those women. But with women with breast
implants, it's still suboptimal. It's something that women who are considering
breast implants should think about."
Women with implants must take care to get regular physical exams and
mammograms, and should be "compulsive" about performing self breast
exams, Skinner advises. These women should start annual mammography at age 40.
Also starting at 40, they should have a doctor conduct a breast exam when they
go in for annual Pap smears.
Toncred Styblo, MD, associate professor of neoplastic surgery at the Winship
Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, reviewed the study for WebMD.
"They're basically saying what certainly has been our experience at Emory
for some time, that with additional views you can detect early-stage,
nonpalpable breast cancers," Styblo says. "We looked at our
breast-cancer and augmented women here about 15 years ago and found similar
results. In general, mammographically detected breast cancers are cured with
treatment, regardless of whether women have implants or not."
One problem, Styblo says, is that women with implants tend to think they
don't need mammograms. "They have the same risk as anybody else; the
implants aren't going to protect them. A lot of women have a fear, the
mammogram's going to rupture my implant. I've never seen that happen. These
implants are such that you could stomp on them and they won't break."
Joanne Mortimer, MD, director of clinical oncology at Washington University
in St. Louis, tells WebMD, "Women should not be afraid of breast
augmentation surgery. There's the whole cosmetic issue, but also there's the
issue of reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. I don't want those women
to feel concerned about it."
- Breast cancer patients who have had breast augmentation fare just as well
in the long run as other women with breast cancer.
- The ability to diagnose breast cancer has improved over the past 20 years,
and a technique called implant displacement views allows physicians to see more
of the breast tissue in women with implants.
- Mammography does miss some breast cancers in women with implants, so these
women should be rigorous about performing self breast exams and should have
mammograms every year beginning at age 40.