In a review of previous studies conducted over 20 years, Canadian researchers found that women who received cosmetic breast implants had a 38 percent greater risk of dying from breast cancer than those without.
The findings, published in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday, also concluded that women with implants were 26 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a more advanced stage.
The researchers said that while the findings "should be interpreted with caution," their report suggests that implants could make it harder to screen for tumors.
A representative for the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer told the Guardian that doctors needed more research to fully understand how implants affect breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
"We encourage women attending mammograms to inform their screening service that they have breast implants to ensure that all breast tissue is completely examined," she said.
In a statement (via The Independent), the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said that the findings "should be treated with caution."
The study only demonstrates an association of reduced survival rate from non-localised (advanced) breast cancer in women with breast implants rather than a cause. The authors also quote many papers that show no association between breast implants and an increase in breast cancer.