Many women are fearful, for obvious reasons, that implants may contribute to cancer recurrence or may hinder detection of any recurrent cancer. Implant-based reconstruction is the most common type of breast reconstruction, even today. Recurrence of cancer is always a concern, and thus, studies were performed to evaluate if implants hindered or lengthened the time of diagnosis of recurrence.
The most notable study reviewed two groups of more than 300 women each – women with immediate breast reconstruction with implants and women without any reconstruction. These took into account patient age and stage of the disease. The recurrence rate of reconstructed patients = 6.8% and without reconstruction = 8.1%. There was no statistical difference in detection or recurrence between these groups. Nearly all (~95%) of all recurrences were detected by physical examination alone, with the rest being found via CT scan. Treatment was not affected by the implants. And, generally, did not require removal of the implant. Only 3 of the 21 women who had recurrence had her implant removed, with 2 of 3 requesting to have it removed.
Breast cancer continues to grow in number along with the reconstructive options available. With the growing knowledge of the reconstructive option, more and more women continue to opt for breast reconstruction. Only a few years ago, breast reconstruction was only conducted in approximately 10% of all women with breast cancer. This number has increased over the past few years alone, mostly due to the fact that women are more informed of this option. Overall, immediate breast reconstruction is still a safe procedure with numerous advantages…and as this study shows, has no impact on the identification of a recurrence or any association towards causing a cancer recurrence.
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