BMJ: Implants may adversely affect women with breast cancer

Cosmetic breast implants seem to adversely affect the survival of women who are subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer, according to a study published online on 30 April in the British Medical Journal.

Canadian researchers conducted a literature review to determine whether the stage at which breast cancer is diagnosed, as well as postdiagnosis survival, differed between women with and without cosmetic breast implants (BMJ, 30 April 2013).

Lead author Eric Lavigne, PhD, of the Université Laval in Quebec and colleagues, analyzed the results of 12 observational studies, all published after 1993 and conducted mainly in the U.S., northern Europe, and Canada. They found that women with cosmetic breast implants had a 26% increased risk of being diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer than women without implants.

Their analysis of five further studies found that women with cosmetic breast implants had a 38% greater risk of death from breast cancer than women without implants.

Lavigne's group stressed that the findings should be interpreted with caution, as some studies included in the review did not adjust for other potential confounding factors, and they called for further investigations into the long-term health effects of breast implants.

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