Longstanding concern exists regarding the potential for women with breast implants to experience delayed detection of breast cancer. Furthermore, survival among cosmetic breast implant patients who subsequently develop breast cancer is a concern. Since 1976, this institution has monitored cancer incidence in a cohort of 3182 women who underwent cosmetic breast augmentation between 1959 and 1981. The distributions of stage at diagnosis and survival of the 37 women who subsequently developed in situ or invasive breast cancer were compared with the observed population distributions. The distribution of stage at diagnosis for cosmetic breast implant patients who subsequently developed breast cancer was virtually identical to that of all breast cancer patients in Los Angeles County who were of the same age and race, and were diagnosed during the same time period. Furthermore, the 5-year survival rate of the 37 patients did not differ from that which would be expected based on rates established by the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program.
These results suggest that cosmetic breast implant patients are not at increased risk of delayed detection of breast cancer, nor do they suffer a poorer prognosis when breast cancer does occur. Although the number of breast cancer patients in this study is small, the results are highly consistent with the existing epidemiologic evidence related to breast cancer detection and survival among breast implant patients. Although breast implant patients should continue appropriate breast cancer screening behavior, there seems to be no cause for alarm.