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A Rare and Deadly Cancer Has Been Linked to Breast Implants

by | February 9, 2019

A rare form of cancer has been linked to breast implants in FDA’s recent letter to health care providers.

Four hundred fifty-seven unique cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma have been confirmed in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to health care providers on Wednesday stating that people with breast implants have an increased risk of a rare form of cancer.

A Rare and Deadly Cancer Has Been Linked to Breast Implants
By Voyagerix/shutterstock
A Rare and Deadly Cancer Has Been Linked to Breast Implants

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A Rare and Deadly Cancer Has Been Linked to Breast Implants

The FDA states that anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma associated with breast implants has been linked to at least nine fatalities.

In the letter, to health care providers, by FDA cancer has been linked to breast implants. FDA issued a warning about the association between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The FDA wants all healthcare providers to be aware, paying particular attention to patients with swollen lumps and pain around breast implants.

In 2011 the FDA first spoke of a small but significant risk of developing cancer after getting breast implants. They asked doctors if they noticed changes in patients and urged women to check for fluid build-up or lumps around their implants.

The World Health Organization found in 2016 that the disease often presents itself as fluid build-up near the implant. The FDA updated their understanding of the disease following the findings by the WHO along with diagnosis and treatment guidelines published by medical organizations.

The FDA says that the disease is more often discovered in patients undergoing breast implant revision surgeries for fluid build-up and that the cases tend to occur more frequently in people with textured implants, rather than smooth.

The FDA has advised that people you are considering getting breast implant surgery do their research and speak with their doctors about the risks and benefits of textured and smooth surfaced implants. Those who already have implants should monitor them for changes and make sure they get routine mammograms or MRIs.

The Lymphoma Research Foundation has stated that ALCL accounts for approximately 1% of cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Most cases are treated by removing the breast implant, some cases have also used chemotherapy and radiation.


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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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