Can Breast Cancer return in a Reconstructed Breast?
Posted Apr 26 2013 2:34pm
Some women are scared to consider breast reconstruction after a mastectomy because they think it will increase the risk of the breast cancer coming back. This is a common misconception. Thankfully, it's not the case.
Breast cancer can come back even after a mastectomy. However, the risk of recurrence after a mastectomy is very low and is the same whether you have breast reconstruction or not. Studies have compared patients with similar stage breast cancers and found no difference in recurrence between patients undergoing mastectomy alone (without reconstruction) and those having skin-sparing mastectomy and reconstruction.
When the patient's own tissue is used for the reconstruction (as in a "flap" procedure), only skin, fat, and/or muscle are used. This tissue is used to replace breast tissue and feels like a breast, but it never turns into real breast tissue.
While it is possible for breast cancer to recur after a mastectomy and breast reconstruction, breast reconstruction in itself (either with an implant or flap) does not increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence.