No increased cancer risk for metal hips

Researchers compared cancer incidence among 290,000 patients with hip replacements – 40,000 of whom were implanted with metal-on-metal joints.

The five-year incidence of all cancers for men at age 60 was 4.8% for those with a metal joint resurfacing, 6.2% for a stemmed metal-on-metal joint, and 6.7% for other bearing surfaces. Equivalent rates for women were lower at 3.1%, 4.0% and 4.4%.

“[Our] models found no evidence that having a stemmed metal-on-metal hip replacement or a resurfacing procedure was associated with an increased risk of cancer diagnosis,” the authors said, adding the data was reassuring.

However they warned metal toxicity linked to failing metal-on-metal joints could result in cancers with a “long latency period”.

“It is important that we study the longer term outcomes and continue to investigate the effects of exposure to orthopaedic metals.”

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