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.
Los Angeles, Calif.
From the Department of Preventive Medicine and the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
Received for publication June 14, 1999.
Dennis Deapen, Dr.P.H. Department of Preventive Medicine School of Medicine University of Southern California 1540 Alcazar Street, Suite 204 Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-9007 firstname.lastname@example.org
Presented at the Epidemiology of Medical Devices in Women meeting, sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration Office of Women’s Health and Epidemiology Branch, in Rockville, Maryland, on May 5, 1998.
Drs. Deapen and Brody have served as consultants to manufacturers of breast implants and have provided breast implant-related testimony.
The ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors, and no endorsement by the State of California Department of Health Services or by the Public Health Institute is intended or should be inferred.