Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) Breast Implants: Report of the Chief Medical Officer

5. Breast Implants and Cancer

Page last updated: April 2012

5.1. Breast Cancer

Women who have silicone breast implants do not appear to be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer(6). This evidence comes from several large cohort studies in Scandinavia(7-9) and Canada(10) which found the incidence of breast cancer in women with breast implants was not higher than that in women without implants.

The French National Institute for Cancer (INCa) advises that the risk of breast cancer in women with PIP implants is not greater than the risk of breast cancer in the general population(11). The UK Expert Group agrees that on the available evidence PIP implants are not associated with a higher risk of breast cancer than other silicone gel implants(1).

5.2. Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare cancer of the immune system that can occur anywhere in the body. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of the scientific literature published from 1997 through May 2010 identified 34 unique cases of ALCL in women with breast implants throughout the world(12). Four of these cases were from Australia. The 34 cases of ALCL in women with breast implants identified by the FDA is an extremely small number compared with the estimated 5 to 10 million women who have received breast implants worldwide. Nevertheless, based on these data, it is possible that women with breast implants may have a very small but increased risk of ALCL(12-13). Importantly, however, this is associated with breast implants in general, including ones filled with saline solution. Currently the TGA has received reports of six cases of ALCL in Australian women with breast implants. It appears that none of the women has had PIP implants.