nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tone Down The Rhetoric On Reports Of Cancer In Breast Implants

 
The FDA is looking at a handful of reports of lymphoma around breast implants.  But it's in the scar tissue from surgery, and unrelated to silicone.

The reporting on this (Boston Herald, Jan 26) is surprisingly balanced...for the media.  Except for the linked article title:  "FDA sees possible cancer risk with breast implants."   We're talking 60 reports out of 10 million implants. 

The FDA doesn't "see" anything yet.  The reports of this are so rare that it reaches the limits of what can be studied with any assurance of a definitive answer.   Looking at how common implants are, and how few of these cases, and how mnay years it takes for problems to occur, I guess that it will take almost a million women to be followed for over 10 years...and even then there may not be a clear-cut result.

Before you think breast implants may be a risk, consider the following:
1.  Lymphomas can occur in scars of any type, like a cut on your arm...rarely.  It may be that--if it exists--the risk is the same as with any scar tissue, and has nothing to do with implants.
2.  The few cases don't show any predilection for one type of implant over another (silicone versus saline).  This is minor support for item #1 above.
3.  Even if some researchers were able to corral this many women with implants for long enough, the risk may turn out to be in the "one in a million range."  This is right at the limit of the abilities of the scientific method to discern differences under controlled circumstances.  In scientific slang this is called the "One In a Million" rule.

So, bottom line, in 20 years we may know that's not a problem, or at worst, a miniscule problem.

Our dietary habits are a thousand times more risky.

Doc D
 
 

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