Cancer Risk at Sites Other Than the Breast Following Augmentation Mammoplasty

Brinton, Louise A., et al. “Cancer risk at sites other than the breast following augmentation mammoplasty.” Annals of Epidemiology: 2001.

In 2001, researchers at the National Cancer Institute studied cancer rates among more than 13,000 women who had breast implants for an average of 12 years. The women were 35 years old, on average. The researchers compared those results to the expected rates of cancer in the general population and to more than 3,000 women who had other types of plastic surgeries.

There were 359 cases of cancer in the women with breast implants, compared to approximately 295 cases of cancer that would be expected in the general population. Women with breast implants had double or triple the expected rates of leukemia and cancers of the stomach, cervix, vulva, and brain. When compared to other plastic surgery patients, these cancer rates as well as respiratory cancers were also higher among breast implant patients, but the differences were not statistically significant. The researchers were not able to determine if breast implants caused these cancers. Lifestyle differences might account for some of these differences, although there was no obvious lifestyle cause of increased respiratory or brain cancers; for example, there were no differences in smoking habits.

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