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Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 23:33 GMT 00:33 UK
Breast implant advice from government
Women will have objective advice on implants
Women considering having breast implants are to have access to objective advice from a booklet written by the Department of Health.

The booklet aims to ensure women have all the information they need before surgery, while the debate about the safety of implants continues.

Its release coincides with publication of research from the US National Cancer Institute which concludes that having implants is not linked to breast cancer risk.

But opinion is still divided as to whether some implants can lead to connective tissue disease and other long term health problems.

We have not sought to influence women but to give them information of value that they can use to ask the right questions of their surgeons

Baroness Emerton Chair, expert advisory group
An estimated 8,000 women a year receive breast implants in the UK, and the expert group formed in the wake of adverse publicity about silicone gel implants concluded two years ago that these women were not getting enough information about their surgery.

Advice has now been collated from doctors, nurses and women who have had implants in an attempt to offer independent information about the types of implants available, the risks and side effects and the cost.

Baroness Emerton, chair of the advisory group set up to produce the booklet said: "The group worked together to produce a balanced appraisal of all the issues relating to breast implants.

"We have not sought to influence women but to give them information of value that they can use to ask the right questions of their surgeons."

Recent problems

The most recent implant problems have been caused by rupture and leakage of the oil-based implant Trilucent which was withdrawn in March 1999.

The 5,000 women affected were given the option of having the implant removed, although the Department of Health insisted that relatively few problems were reported.

Implants do not increase cancer risk
The association between implants and cancer of the breast has caused controversy for considerably longer.

While several studies have suggested a link between implants and increased cancer risk, others have pointed to a protective effect from implants.

The most recent study from the NCI followed 13,500 women with implants for almost 13 years.

It found that there was no change in breast cancer risk between those with implants - whatever the type - and those without.

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23 May 00 | Scotland
EC in silicone implants inquiry
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