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Breast Implants Not Linked to Cancer in Long-Term Study

Women with implants may actually have a lower breast cancer risk, possibly due to lifestyle factors

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- After a mean follow-up of nearly 20 years, researchers found that women with cosmetic breast implants are not at higher risk of cancer overall and in fact have a lower risk of breast cancer, according to a study in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Joseph K. McLaughlin, Ph.D., of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues examined the incidence of cancer in 3,486 Swedish women who received cosmetic breast implants between 1965 and 1993.

At the end of 2002 and a mean follow-up of 18.4 years, the investigators found no increased risk of cancer overall, including brain cancer, sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. They found a reduced risk of breast cancer (standardized incidence ratio 0.7) and an increased risk of lung cancer (standardized incidence ratio 2.2).

"In conclusion, the results of our study are generally consistent with those of earlier epidemiologic studies and independent reviews in demonstrating no increased risk for breast or other cancers among women with cosmetic breast implants, with the exception of an observed excess of lung cancer, which would be expected due to the much higher prevalence of smoking among the Swedish women with implants," McLaughlin and colleagues write. They add that the reduced risk of breast cancer was "most likely due to differences in lifestyle or reproductive characteristics."

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