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BMJ. 2013 Apr 29;346:f2399. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f2399.

Breast cancer detection and survival among women with cosmetic breast implants: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.

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Centre de Recherche du CHU de Québec, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada.



To evaluate whether the stage distribution among women diagnosed as having breast cancer differs between those who have received breast implants for cosmetic purposes and those with no implants and to evaluate whether cosmetic breast augmentation before the detection of breast cancer is a predictor of post-diagnosis survival.


Systematic review of observational studies with two meta-analyses.


Systematic search of the literature published before September 2012 conducted in Medline, Embase, Global health, CINAHL, IPAB, and PsycINFO.


Eligible publications were those that included women diagnosed as having breast cancer and who had had augmentation mammaplasty for cosmetic purposes.


The overall odds ratio of the first meta-analysis based on 12 studies was 1.26 (95% confidence interval 0.99 to 1.60; P=0.058; I(2)=35.6%) for a non-localized stage of breast cancer at diagnosis comparing women with implants who had breast cancer and women without implants who had breast cancer. The second meta-analysis, based on five studies, evaluated the relation between cosmetic breast implantation and survival. This meta-analysis showed reduced survival after breast cancer among women who had implants compared with those who did not (overall hazard ratio for breast cancer specific mortality 1.38, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 1.75).


The research published to date suggests that cosmetic breast augmentation adversely affects the survival of women who are subsequently diagnosed as having breast cancer. These findings should be interpreted with caution, as some studies included in the meta-analysis on survival did not adjust for potential confounders. Further investigations are warranted regarding diagnosis and prognosis of breast cancer among women with breast implants.

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