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Breast Implants are Linked to Rare Cancer

The FDA announced in January of 2011 that breast implants may be associated with a rare form of (non-Hodgkin’s) lymphoma. This specific lymphoma is called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). Read the New York Times Article

The important points to know:

  • Total cases: 34
  • Silicone gel filled: 27
  • Saline filled: 7
  • Possibly another two dozen cases worldwide (no info on that yet).
  • No word yet on location of implants (under vs. over the muscle).
  • Millions of breast implants placed!

FDA feels link needs to be confirmed, but women with implants may have a very small but increased risk of ALCL. FDA feels that implants are safe and effective when used as labeled (this may change over time).

What you need to know:

Symptoms of this rare cancer include enlarging, deforming of implanted breast, possibly pain. This may be similar in presentation to a capsular contracture. The cancer usually develops years after implantation. The cancer develops in or around the capsule, giving weight to a causality or link. The tumor is usually associated with a new fluid collection. Cures have been reported with implant removal and capsulectomy alone!

What you need to do if you have implants:

Don’t panic. There is NO recommendation to remove the implants at this time if they are not causing problems Contact your plastic surgeon. No need to have the implants removed. You should be aware that some sort of registry may be started in the near future to help track you and your health. If you note symptoms, notify your plastic surgeon immediately, and again don’t panic.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.