Breast implants may make cancer harder to spot

“Breast implants may harm breast cancer survival chances,” The Guardian warns, along with other media sources reporting on the same subject. It is important to stress that the research the media has reported does not suggest...

“Breast implants may harm breast cancer survival chances,” The Guardian warns, along with other media sources reporting on the same subject.

It is important to stress that the research the media has reported does not suggest that breast implants cause breast cancer.

Instead, the research suggests that breast implants may cause a delay in diagnosis in women who have breast cancer, which may increase their risk of dying from the condition.

The researchers suggest that the implants could hide cancerous tissue that would otherwise be detected during screening.

Is this anything to do with PIP implants?

This research did not look at the type of breast implants that the women had. When the scandal over the fraudulently made and faulty PIP implants came to light, there was some concern about a possible link between the ruptured PIP implants and a rare form of cancer. This link has been discounted by medical experts. Read more about PIP implants.

To test this, the researchers reviewed several small studies looking at whether having cosmetic breast implants was associated with (no causal association) a delay in diagnosis, and whether women with breast cancer who had implants were at increased risk of dying from the disease.

They found some evidence of an association. Women with breast implants had a 26% increased risk of being diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer than those without implants. Women with implants also had a 38% greater risk of dying from breast cancer than women without implants.

However, as the authors rightly point out, the results of these analyses should be viewed with caution. This is because they couldn’t find previous research of high enough quality to draw firm conclusions, and better quality studies would be needed to confirm the association.

 

Where did the story come from?

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