Silicone breast implants have been more thoroughly researched over the years than any other medical device. The purpose of many of these studies was to ascertain whether there existed a causal relationship between them and any disease processes. A quite unexpected discovery which has been well documented in several large patient population evaluations is that there is a lower than expected incidence of breast cancer occurring in women who have undergone a breast augmentation. In other words, women with silicone breast implants have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than the average women.
In the most recent large study, published in the International Journal of Cancer in January 2009, over 6200 Swedish and Danish women were followed post-implantation for a mean duration of over 16.5 years with over thirteen percent having the implants for at least twenty five years. What the researchers determined was that there was a statistically significant 27% reduction in risk of developing breast cancer in women with silicone gel breast implants. This is not a new finding as several studies performed previously reached the same conclusions with some actually showing risk reductions as high as 37 to 53%.
This is great news, of course, for both those women who have had a breast augmentation and those that are contemplating it. Why there is a lowered risk of breast cancer in women who have had silicone breast implants is not entirely clear and there may be several other factors in play. In discussing the procedure with my patients, I do not them that having breast implants will lower their risk of developing breast cancer. What I do indicate is that all evidence points to no increased risk of this type of cancer.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona