Brava and Breast Cancer:
Most importantly, the BRAVA System and the technology of tissue expansion are not associated with cancer.
1- Mechanical forces are protean and omnipresent and have never been implicated as carcinogens:
In the entire cancer research literature, there is no evidence that mechanical forces are remotely, theoretically or in any way associated with cancer causation or growth. In fact, crossing tension, expansion, or mechanical forces with cancer in literature search engine leads to publications on the therapeutic implications of tissue expansion in cancer reconstruction.
2- Experiment of Nature:
Brava effects a distracting force on the breast which is equivalent to the amount of gravity exerted from 4 pound breasts on a large-breasted women. Yet extensive epidemiological research confirms that women with larger breasts that are constantly subjected to the stretching effect of gravity are not at higher cancer risk than small-breasted women. In fact per gram of tissue, large breasts have less cancer incidence than small ones.
3- Clinical Experiment:
Tissue expansion is routinely used for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. It is well known that even the most radical mastectomy leaves behind some breast tissue. Yet more than three decades of experience on millions of women leave no evidence that expanding that residual cancer prone breast increases the likelihood of cancer growth or recurrence. Furthermore, despite the fact that skin is the most cancer prone organ in the body and skin expansion is routinely used in plastic surgery, there are no reports in the literature of cancer arising in the expanded skin.
4- Animal Experiment:
Published research in animals of the effect of tissue expansion on cancer growth has shown that tissue expansion has an inhibitory effect upon the growth of implanted mammary tumor cells and on the extent of visceral metastasis. (Ref: Plast Reconstr Surg 1991 Jan;87(1):1-7)
5- Cell Biology Experiments:
The cellular mechanisms responsible for tension induced tissue growth involve a highly organized array of sensors, receptors and growth promoting signals. Transformed or cancerous cells typically loose these pathways and acquire an autonomous growth mechanism that is independent of these normal cues. When grown in tissue culture plates, normal cells multiply until they reach confluence; that is when a monolayer fills the plate and "contact inhibition" causes them to cease multiplying. Tissue expansion has been demonstrated in these tissue culture plates; as stretching the plate and the overlying cells causes them to multiply again until they reach the new equilibrium level of confluence. The hallmark of cancerous transformation is the loss of this "contact inhibition". Cancer cells loose the normal clues that make them respond to confluence and tension and will keep on growing autonomously and independently from any additional stretch.
6- The Brava Clinical Experience:
After nearly two years of clinical practice in the US on thousands of women, we can now affirm that Brava has saved lives. We have a number of confirmed instances where our diligent requirement for breast exam and screening mammography has led to the detection and early treatment of smaller curable tumors that would have otherwise grown unnoticed and metastasized. (As a rule, we suggest that all Brava users have a recent breast exam prior to using the System. A mammogram (within one year) may also be recommended as per the guidelines set by the American Cancer Society.)
7- Expert Opinions:
We asked two nationally recognized breast cancer experts, one at Vanderbilt University and the other at the MD Anderson Cancer Center to independently review our data, our breast biopsies, and the literature and give us a written opinion as to the cancer risk, if any, associated with Brava. They both unequivocally wrote that there is no evidence whatsoever that it might in any way promote cancer growth or increase cancer risk. Furthermore, there are some in academia that believe that the effects of Brava might actually be cancer protective. Besides the theoretical cell biology evidence (Stretching is good for a cell; Science: May 30, 1997; 276(5317):1345-6), there is evidence from an epidemiological study that showed that women who wear supportive brassieres that annul the lifelong stretch of gravity have a higher incidence of breast cancer.
Finally, Susan Love, M.D., a leading breast cancer expert and professor at UCLA, was quoted in ELLE Magazine's March issue, "The Next Breast Thing" (p. 251) saying "There is no reason to think it causes cancer" and added that, " Compared to most of the fly-by-night things proposed to increase breast size, it actually has some data behind it and seems to pose fewer risks than breast implants or over-the-counter drugs and creams"."