According to results recently presented at the 47th annual meeting of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), women with breast implants who are diagnosed with early breast cancer may be effectively treated with breast-conserving therapy plus radiation therapy with favorable cosmetic results.
Early breast cancer refers to cancer that has not spread outside the breast or axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes. Treatment for early breast cancer may include breast-conserving therapy (lumpectomy) in which only the area of cancer and a margin of healthy tissue is surgically removed. A lumpectomy is then followed by radiation to the breast. Patients may also receive hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and/or targeted therapy.
Historically, women with breast implants who were diagnosed with early breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy suffered from poor cosmetic results. However, these studies involved older radiation techniques. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic recently conducted a study to evaluate cosmetic results and effectiveness of a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy in women diagnosed with early breast cancer. This study included the use of newer radiation techniques than those used in previous studies.
This study included 26 breast cancer patients treated between 1994 and 2004 at the Mayo Clinic. The women had breast implants and were treated with a lumpectomy and radiation therapy to the breast. The average duration of follow-up was three years:
- 85% of patients reported favorable cosmetic results.
- No patient has experienced a cancer recurrence.
The researchers concluded that a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy produces favorable cosmetic results in women with early breast cancer who have breast implants. Furthermore, rates of cancer recurrence do not seem to be increased in women with implants.
Reference: Morrell R, et al. Results of Primary Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer in Cosmetically Augmented Patients. Proceedings from the 47th annual meeting of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology. Presented October 16, 2005. Denver, Colorado.