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Breast implants linked to rare form of cancer, FDA finds

23 March 2017

Nine women are believed to have died in the United States from a rare cancer linked to breast implants, U.S. health officials said Tuesday, with more than 350 cases of the disease recorded nationwide.

The disease, a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), is believed to have killed at least nine people with silicone and saline implants - but the FDA is investigating 350 additional reports.

The surfaces of the textured implants are created to allow tissue to grow around the interstices of the implant surface, explains Dhivya Srinivasa, a plastic surgery resident at the University of MI and the lead author on a recent review of data on breast implant-associated ALCL worldwide.

The FDA said it has received a total of 359 medical device reports on cases of BIA-ALCL, which included 9 deaths.

The FDA said it now agrees with the World Health Organization, which concluded years ago this type of lymphoma can develop following breast implants.

FDA received about 359 reports of cancer cases related to breast implants.

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"Before getting breast implants", the agency said in a statement, "make sure to talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks of textured-surface vs. smooth-surfaced implants". The agency reported 203 involved textured implants compared to 29 that were smooth. Less than 10 patients are diagnosed with breast implant-associated ALCL annually.

Symptoms of the implant-linked cancer include lumps, pain and swelling.

Breast implants have been confirmed to increase the risk of cancer, regulators have confirmed.

If you have patients with breast implants, you should continue to provide them routine care and support. ALCL is not breast cancer; rather, it is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer of immune system cells, the FDA said in a statement. ALCL is not a form of breast cancer, but it grows in the breast in implant patients. The first reported case of a woman with breast implants developing ALCL was published in a 1997 letter to the journal Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

Since 2011, packaging for all implants sold in the USA and Canada has listed the possible cancer risk, and advises women to discuss all the risks and options with their doctor.

Breast augmentation is the second most popular cosmetic procedure among women, after liposuction. If you already have breast implants, there is no need to change your routine medical care and follow-up. "Of these, 186 reported implants filled with silicone gel and 126 reported implants filled with saline", the administration continued.

Breast implants linked to rare form of cancer, FDA finds