Breast cancer

29 January 2009

Boob jobs pose no cancer risk

Women with cosmetic breast implants do not appear to have a higher-than-average risk of any cancer years after having the surgery, a new study finds.

Women with cosmetic breast implants do not appear to have a higher-than-average risk of any cancer years after having the surgery, a new study finds.

Researchers found that among more than 6 200 Swedish and Danish women who'd received breast implants, the long-term risk of developing breast cancer was lower than the norm, while the risks of other cancers were neither higher nor lower than average.

The results, published in the International Journal of Cancer, add to evidence that silicone-gel breast implants pose no significant cancer risk to women.

Unlike most previous studies, the current one was able to follow women beyond 15 years - with more than half of study participants tracked for at least 15 years and 13% for at least 25 years.

It is the only published study to have followed breast-implant recipients that long, note the researchers, led by Loren Lipworth of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Maryland.

High statistical precision
Because of this, the researchers write, "we were able to present for the first time risk estimates for many cancer types with high statistical precision."

The link between breast implants and a lower risk of breast cancer has been seen in past studies as well. Researchers suspect that several factors may explain this.

Compared with other women, for example, women who undergo breast augmentation tend to be thinner and have children at a younger age - both of which may lower breast cancer risk. It's also possible that women with a family history of breast cancer are less likely to get implants.

Lipworth's team found that only one cancer - lung cancer - occurred at a higher-than-average rate among implant recipients. That, however, appeared to be explained by their relatively high rate of smoking. - (Reuters Health)

SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, January 15, 2009.

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January 2009


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Dr Gudgeon qualified in Birmingham, England, in 1968. She has more than 40 years experience in oncology, and in 1994 she founded her practice, Cape Breast Care, where she treats benign and malignant breast cancers. Dr Boeddinghaus obtained her qualification at UCT Medical School in 1994 and her MRCP in London in 1998. She has worked extensively in the field of oncology and has a special interest in the hormonal management of breast cancer. She now works with Dr Gudgeon at Cape Breast Care. Read more.

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