Treatment effective for breast cancer patients with implants

Cancer experts have found that women with early-stage breast cancer who have breast implants can be treated with a partial-breast radiation treatment called brachytherapy.

Whole-breast radiation therapy, which is commonly used to treat cancer, can cause breast implants to harden and become painful as the scar tissue wraps around them.

"We are seeing an increasing number of breast cancer patients with augmentation," explained Dr Robert Kuske, clinical professor at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Centre.

"By nature, these women are concerned about their appearance and we need to have options for them."

A new study has now found that brachytherapy - in which radiation is given in higher doses to a small, targeted area of the breast following lumpectomy - has better cosmetic results while still being effective against cancer.

The study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, found that out of 65 women who were treated with twice-daily brachytherapy for five days, 100 per cent reported a 'good to excellent' cosmetic outcome.

Dr Kuske concluded: "Compared to traditional treatments, brachytherapy offers an excellent alternative for these women. It offers very high rates of tumour control with fewer side-effects and is easier on their lifestyle."

According to Cancer Research UK, there is no evidence that silicone breast implants increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.

However, there are concerns that implants may make it less likely that breast cancer will be spotted during a mammogram.

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