By MARYE HARRIS and MARTIN CAMPBELLLIVEAN The American Cancer Society and Columbia University researchers report that a breast implant can help lower the risk for breast cancer.
In a study of nearly 5,000 women who were treated for breast tumors and who were followed up for four years, the researchers found that women who received implants were less likely to develop invasive cancers and had fewer post-treatment symptoms.
They also reported a decreased risk of death from breast cancer, which was the leading cause of death in the United States in 2010.
The study was published online Feb. 11 in the journal JAMA.
“The benefits of breast implants go beyond the immediate benefits, including reducing the risk that patients will develop breast cancer,” said Dr. Michael K. Katz, an associate professor at Columbia University and co-leader of the study.
“We can also expect them to help prevent or even reverse the progression of some types of cancer.”
Katz, a breast cancer survivor, is the author of the new study, published in JAMA on the website of the American Cancer Association.
In the study, women were given a breast exam at their regular doctor’s office and asked to rate their progress, symptoms and quality of life.
They were also asked about their own breast cancer treatment.
The average time for patients to complete the study was just over three months.
Katz and his team looked at breast cancer outcomes over the four-year study.
They found that the implant-based treatment was associated with lower rates of breast cancers, such as invasive and non-invasive.
In fact, the rate of breast tumors dropped significantly in the first year of treatment, when breast implants were used, compared with the four years prior to treatment.
“This is a promising finding, and we are excited to see it translate into patient care,” Katz said.
“I’m optimistic that it will help us in the long run.”
A second study was conducted in a different way and looked at the effect of breast augmentation surgery.
Researchers examined the use of implants for breast augments in patients who had breast cancer and compared their breast cancer survival rate.
They reported that the average time to complete breast augment surgery was only 14.5 months.
The researchers did not find any difference in survival rates for patients who were surgically corrected or the patients who underwent no surgery at all.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that about 70% of breast implant patients will experience breast cancer relapse within five years of surgery.
Katz said there is no reason why a woman who has breast cancer would not benefit from an implant.
“You can see the benefit from this and the potential for benefit,” he said.