Friday, April 14, 2006

Breast implants linked to increased suicide risk

More evidence reported here that suggests that suicide is more common among women who have breast augmentation surgery than those who don't. Their risk of death for most causes, though, is lower than the general population's. . . one wonders how socioeconomic status plays into these stats.


Chris MacDonald said...

Here's a guess:
Low self-esteem might be linked to both a) likelihood to seek out breast augmentation and b) likelihood of suicide.

And ability to afford breast augmentation (at least several thousand dollars) would indicate a level of affluence that's well known to be positively correlated with good health.

Sue Trinidad said...

Right you are. Which brings up the next questions: Does society, or the medical profession, have the right (or the obligation) to require mental health screeing of women who request surgery? If women screen positive, should they be denied surgery? At issue, in philosophical terms, are respect for autonomy (how far does it extend in this case?) and paternalism (making decisions for the good of the patient, even over the patient's protests).

Then, there's the whole area of how, precisely, material circumstances are related to health. There's substantial evidence that it's not a simple matter of access to resources but rather a sociological phenomenon that has to do with how we rank compared to others.