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Dow-funded study: No connection between silicone implants, breast-cancer risk

Article-Dow-funded study: No connection between silicone implants, breast-cancer risk

Nashville, Tenn. — Results of a new study suggest that silicone breast implants do not affect the risk of cancer in women who have cosmetic surgery, and that smoking habits, weight and giving birth have a more significant impact.

The study, funded by Dow Corning Corp. and conducted by researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, here, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, found that women with silicon breast implants had an increased risk of lung cancer and a decreased rate of breast cancer compared with the general population, but that neither result could be linked to the implants.

The research team analyzed government data from 3,486 Swedish women who first received implants between 1965 and 1993 and whose cases were followed for an average of 18 years. The team found 180 total cases of cancer — including skin, ovarian and brain — among other types that occurred at rates similar to that in the general population of Swedish women. Twenty cases of lung cancer were found, compared with an expected nine cases based on population estimates, while 53 cases of breast cancer were reported, compared with an expected 72.

Authors of the study, published in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, attribute the higher lung-cancer rates to increased smoking, and note that the study is not suggesting that implants reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Dow once was the largest maker of silicone gel breast implants before U.S. health regulators banned their use for most women more than a decade ago. According to a report by Reuters, the company had no role in the study other than funding it.

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