There are two possible situations related to the treatment of breast cancer in patients with breast implants. The first is when patients who have implants and who develop breast cancer. It is possible to have conservative breast surgery (lumpectomy) and to preserve the breast and the implant. Subsequent radiotherapy presents some particularities but it is absolutely possible.
The second is those who have undergone cancer surgery with a subsequent breast reconstruction for which implants or prostheses are used. After the breast cancer surgery, a prosthesis is implanted, and postoperative radiotherapy has the same technical characteristics and can also be performed.
Can breast implants hinder the treatment of cancer?
Absolutely. From the point of view of radiotherapy, a careful and homogeneous technique is essential for treating breast cancer patients with breast implants. In this way, it is possible to avoid “overdosing” zones in the peripheries of the prosthesis, in order to minimise capsular retractions, which affect the breast aesthetically.
What changes in treatment are there when there is a breast implant?
A very careful technique is required to perform radiotherapy on breasts with implants in order to avoid the risk of retractions or fibrosis periprosthetic. No sophisticated technology is needed; the essential thing is to have experience and knowledge.
Is the breast cancer treatment just as effective?
Of course. The presence of breast implants does not change the effectiveness of the treatment. There is a possible risk of aesthetic alterations, which needs to be avoided. An implant or prosthesis in itself implies a percentage of retractions. Radiation therapy should be done so that this percentage does not rise or does so to the smallest extent possible.