External breast prostheses: misinformation and false beliefs

MedGenMed. 2003 Sep 8;5(3):36.


This article discusses common myths associated with the use of external breast prostheses and the impact this misinformation may have on the quality of life of women after mastectomy. A review of the literature reveals that very little research has been conducted on this subject. The majority of information on breast prostheses is provided by the manufacturers and tacitly accepted by healthcare providers and the media in general. Claims regarding the medical necessity of a weighted prosthesis and the suitability of gel fillings are examined and found wanting. Widespread acceptance of these myths may be preventing women from pursuing healthy lifestyle options and restricting the development of more suitable prosthetic products. The article concludes that a rigorous, evidence-based approach to the evaluation of external breast prostheses would enhance both the development of this noninvasive and cost-effective sector of post-mastectomy care, as well as the adjustment, well being and quality of life of breast cancer survivors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Image
  • Breast Implants / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Survivors / psychology*