Breast Implants Not Associated With Cancer Risk
Having breast implants is not associated with an increased risk of
cancer overall, a new study reports in the April issue of the Journal
of the National Cancer Institute.
Breast implants were associated with a decrease in breast cancer
risk and an increased lung cancer risk, but these results likely
reflect the lifestyles and smoking habits of the women in the study
rather than an effect of the breast implants themselves, the authors
Past reports have examined the association between cosmetic breast
implants and cancer risk, particularly breast cancer risk, but no
consistent associations have been found.
However, few studies have examined this association after more than 15 years.
K. McLaughlin, Ph.D., of the International Epidemiology Institute in
Rockville, Md., and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, and
colleagues examined the incidence of cancer in a nationwide cohort of
3486 Swedish women who underwent cosmetic surgery for breast implants
between 1965 and 1993 and were followed until the end of 2002.
Data was obtained from the Swedish Cancer Registry, which reports on
cancer occurrence for the entire country. The study is the longest
follow-up study on cosmetic breast implants and risk of cancer
incidence to date.
The authors identified 180 cancers in women with breast implants,
fewer than the 193.1 predicted to occur in this population. Cosmetic
breast implants were not associated with an increased risk of cancer
The authors suggest the higher incidence of lung cancer may be due
to the high rates of smoking in Swedish women with cosmetic breast
implants. Lower breast cancer incidence could be explained by the lower
body mass index, higher number of births, and younger age at first
childbirth observed in the group of women who had undergone breast
The authors write, "After an average follow-up of 18 years, and a
maximum follow-up of 37 years, we found that women who have undergone
breast implantation have a reduced risk for breast cancer, most likely
due to differences in lifestyle or reproductive characteristics."
"We also found no increased risk for brain cancer or for lymphoma,
sarcoma, or multiple myeloma," cancers of concern because of earlier