Government Study Links Breast Implants to Cancer, Lung Diseases, and Suicide

Brinton, LA, Lubin, JH, Burich, MC, Colton, T, and Hoover, RN. “Mortality Among Augmentation Mammoplasty Patients”, Epidemiology 2001; 12: 321-326.

A new study raises questions about the long-term safety of breast implants. A team of researchers led by Louise Brinton, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that women with breast implants are more likely to die from brain tumors, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and suicide compared to other plastic surgery patients.

This study is the first to look at all types of cancer and all causes of death among breast implant patients. While the authors were not able to determine whether implants caused these illnesses, the results show a doubling of brain cancer and a tripling of lung cancer, emphysema, and pneumonia for women with implants. Even though these findings were described as “unexpected,” they are consistent with previous research that shows brain abnormalities and lung problems related to breast implants. There was also a four-fold increase in suicide for breast implant patients, which seems to contradict the manufacturers’ assertion that implants improve a woman’s feeling of self-worth.