Have Breast Implants? 3 Things to Know About Your Breast Cancer Risk

I’m going to need to tread lightly on this one because  I can understand, from an evolutionary standpoint, the near irresistible pull of the eyes towards the natural as well as the aftermarket products.

But underneath it all, regardless of how they look, we still need to be concerned about protecting the breast against the scourge that is breast cancer.

As a way of background, breast augmentation in the US is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed, numbering 307 000 surgeries in 2011, an increase of approximately 800% compared with the early 1990s.  I’m pretty sure almost all of these are done here in Scottsdale, AZ, which explains the expensive European sports cars in the medical buildings here.

Early on, there were many concerns over the initiating of an autoimmune reaction to silicone implants, but research over the years has not found great evidence to support this notion.  What has been clear, though, is that the density of the implants get in the way of interpreting mammography studies (as well as jump roping, but that is beyond the scope of this article).

According to this particular study, this creates a problem.  A 26% problem to be exact.  Researchers looked across multiple studies to get a clearer picture of whether implants led to a greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage.  As mentioned, they found a 26% higher risk that women with implants versus women who did not have implants would be diagnosed at a stage that has metastasized.

Worse, the researchers looked at another group of studies on the actual survival rates in women with implants who developed breast cancer.  Overall, there was a 38% lower risk of 5-year survival in these studies.

Now, lest you are already picking up the phone to call your plastic surgeon to schedule their removal, there are a very important things I need to point out:

  1. The authors noted some concerns with the studies themselves that were looked at, and so it may be too early to draw firm conclusions.
  2. Overall, your individual risk of surviving breast cancer does not change much, about 88% survival down to 84%.
  3. Regardless of how it plays out, breast cancer is highly, highly preventable.  This means that, as a proud implant owner, there is less leeway for unhealthy behaviors leading to an increased risk of breast cancer.

The long list of thing you can do to lower your risk of breast cancer is beyond the scope of this post, but you can read more about these by looking through previous articles by clicking here.

So, if you already have implants and have no desire to have them removed, it’s time to evaluate your lifestyle and make the necessary changes.  It’s not an option.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.