FDA: Silicone Breast Implants Can Cause Cancer

Silicone breast implants

The FDA warned that some breast implants can lead to a rare form of cancer.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reported that more than 350 women developed a rare type of cancer – the anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) – after a breast implant procedure. Of these, nine died of breast implant-associated cancer.

Breast Implants Hazardous to Health

The agency first warned that breast implants could lead to cancer in a January 2011 study. In the meantime, the FDA strengthened their understanding of the disease. On Mar. 21, it announced that ALCL can develop after breast implants. The World Health Organization’s researchers reached a similar conclusion.

The FDA report found that the cancer risk is higher in women with textured breast implants than in those with smooth implants.

The agency said that it has knowledge of 359 cases in the U.S., which include nine fatalities. The agency doesn’t have all the details on each particular case, but 203 cases of cancer involved a textured breast implant; in 186 cases implants had a silicone gel filling and 126 were filled with saline. The FDA explained that texture and fill type are very important.

Past research has shown that women with breast implants have a higher risk of developing ALCL than their peers who did not undergo the procedure. In most cancer cases, doctors remove the implants, while in severe cases they prescribe chemotherapy and radiation.

Breast Implant-Associated ALCL’s Symptoms

The symptoms of breast implant-associated ALCL are lumps, pain, swelling, or asymmetry. The FDA does not recommend removing the implants if the patient doesn’t display any of the symptoms.

It is unclear how many women have developed the rare condition because of the implants worldwide.

Women who have breast implants should be aware that textured devices are the most hazardous for their health. Plastic surgeons should inform their patients on the benefits and risks of various types of implants before surgery, the FDA recommends.

In France, the National Cancer Institute said the found a clear link between implants and ALCL. As of 2015, 18 women developed the disease because of their breast implants.

The NCI proposed that all breast implants carry a health warning about the link with the said rare cancer. The agency said that there’s no need to remove implants as the disease is very rare and occurs “very infrequently.”
Image Source: Wikimedia

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