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U.S. BAN ON BREAST IMPLANTS CALLED SEXIST

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A leading medical journal has sharply criticized the government's ban on most breast implants, saying it deprives women of their right to make their own choices, raises needless fears and may be sexist, too.

In the same issue of the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday, a Canadian team reported that a large study found that women with implants run no higher risk of breast cancer, at least during the first 10 years after receiving them.The findings provide support for those who say health concerns about breast implants are largely groundless.

In an editorial, the journal said the Food and Drug Administration seems to assume that the implants are worthless, even though 150,000 American women have them annually and polls show them to be overwhelmingly satisfied with the results.

In April, the FDA banned use of implants for breast enlargement, citing safety worries. However, it allows women to get them for breast reconstruction after cancer surgery.

In his own report in the journal, FDA Commissioner David Kessler defended the decision.

The editorial, written by Dr. Marcia Angell, the journal's executive editor, said women should be allowed to weigh the risks and benefits of breast implants and make up their own minds.