It is important to understand the relationships between breast implants and breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
INCIDENCE OF BREAST CANCER
Published studies indicate that breast cancer is no more common in women with implants than in women without implants. In fact some studies show breast cancer is less common in women with breast implants.
The presence of breast implants generally does not interfere with the detection of lumps on breast self-exam.
MAMMOGRAPHY BEFORE IMPLANT SURGERY
The doctor will recommend that you get a mammogram before surgery if you are 45 or older. If you have ever had a mammogram the doctor will want to see the most recent report. They may be required more frequently if there is a family history or other clinical indication.*
BREAST IMPLANTS AND MAMMOGRAPHY
Breast implants always interfere with mammography to some degree. Implants placed over the muscle interfere more than implants placed beneath the muscle. It is also more difficult to perform mammography with breast implants in place. Before obtaining a mammogram you should inform the technologist that you have implants. Because the breast is squeezed during mammography, it is possible for an implant to rupture although this is exceedingly rare. Because more views are necessary a woman with implants will receive more radiation to the breast over her lifetime. However, the benefit of the mammogram definitely outweighs the risk of the small amount of additional radiation.
STAGE AT DIAGNOSIS
Women with breast implants who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have it detected at later stages than women without breast implants who are diagnosed with breast cancer.
SURVIVAL AFTER DIAGNOSIS OF BREAST CANCER
Studies show that women with breast implants who develop breast cancer have the same survival rates as women without implants who develop breast cancer.
*It is recommended that all women perform periodic self examination of their breasts, have mammography according to American Cancer Society or National Cancer Institute guidelines, and seek professional care should they notice a breast lump.