Silicone Breast Implants Increase Risk of Cancer

Although silicone implants were introduced as a more lifelike alternative to saline bags, studies warn that they also increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, as well as the likelihood of a stillbirth. Based on research by medical professionals at MD Anderson, there are some unfavorable consequences of getting breast augmentation or reconstruction with silicone implants, which are now fairly common procedures.

Mark W. Clemens from the University of Texas is conducting one of the largest studies on the safety of silicone breast implants. According to Clemens, the information is meant to provide women with proper details as to what they should expect from silicone implants, and ultimately choose what is best for them.

The US FDA approved silicone-based breast implants in 2006, but these were limited to implants produced by two manufacturers. They did impose LPAS (large post-approval studies) to understand whether the implants could ensure safety in the long-term. Although vast amounts of data were collected and were easily accessible by the public, the LPAS hadn’t gone through an analysis, until recently.

Out of the 100,000 women to get implants, only a fourth of the patients chose saline-filled implants while the rest selected silicone. The MD Anderson Cancer Center has taken in the LPAS data for further evaluation. The data reviewed from LPAS showed that out of the 100,000 patients who got implants, a group of women developed illnesses like melanoma and rheumatoid arthritis at a rate that is twice as that of the general population.

The studies show that getting silicone implants increases the risk of a stillbirth by over four times over. In addition, the risk of developing melanoma quadrupled in women with silicone breast implants. The results also showed a single case of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants, which is rare but just as serious. Silicone breast implants are also linked to an increase risk of cancers, rare diseases including lupus and autoimmune diseases. The FDA is planning to have a public meeting of medical advisors next year to further look into breast implant safety.

By opting for silicone breast implants instead of saline-filled ones, some women had a higher risk of going through surgical complications. One of the issues regarding breast augmentation surgery with silicone implants is the higher rate of capsular contracture, 5.0 percent, compared to the 2.8 percent that saline-filled implants cause.

Although it’s true that women who get primary augmentation with silicone implants have a higher risk of developing certain diseases, the rate is still very low when it comes to adverse outcomes. The nature of an LPAS analysis limits the research to a certain extent because of a lacking for complete patient data and follow-up.

National Breast Awareness Month

Health organizations like The National Breast Cancer Foundation and medical practitioners are raising awareness about the disease. During this month, hospitals and medical practices are partaking in preventive measure by offering discounted mammograms to women as a means to encourage them to get one. Aside from self-examination, mammograms are a way to detect breast cancer in its early stages.

According to MD Anderson Cancer Center, breast implants are linked to ALCL, which develops in the scarred breast tissue surrounding the implants. One of the reasons for this occurrence is reconstruction surgery that many women get post-treatment for breast cancer. Although it’s rare, there are still chances of it developing.

The medical community of plastic surgery should provide information about the risk of silicone breast implants to patients, and women should understand the details in a way that’s unbiased. Consult with a local hospital or your health insurance agent about getting a mammogram and ensuring optimal health.

If you’re looking for some great resources to raise awareness for the women in your life and community, visit NBCF’s resource page. You can also support and donate to organizations to raise awareness among women that are at risk of breast cancer.