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In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report that the World Health Organization (WHO) discovered a rare type of cancer that is associated with breast implants. Their report showed 414 cases of BIA-ALCL or Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma and nine patients already died from this rare but a bit aggressive type of cancer. What is the truth about this breast implants cancer? Let us all find out.

 

Breast implants cancer: Is it breast cancer?

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma or BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer per se. It is a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is cancer of the lymphatic tissues in charge of our immune system. It does not affect the breast tissue but the lymphatic tissues or nodes that are situated within the breasts.

 

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Breast implants cancer: What type of breast implant?

According to the research gathered by the FDA and WHO, the prevalence of this type of lymphoma affects patients with textured breast implants than smooth ones. The report stated that textured implants tend to be more stable and slightly more immovable than the smooth implants, making the scar tissue and fluid surrounding the implant more prone to the cancer cell growth. Moreover, the patients who were reported to be inflicted with this disease have had their breast implants placed for seven or eight years.

 

Breast implants cancer: What are the symptoms?

The common symptoms observed by oncologists and specialists with regard to BIA-ALCL are the following:

  • Swelling
  • Pain around the breast
  • Presence of a fluid pocket upon palpation of surgeon
  • Noticeable lumps or scar capsules around the implant
  • Wound or ulceration (a break in the skin that signals an infection)

 

Breast implants cancer: Should I be concerned?

Fortunately, this type of cancer is, as mentioned earlier, very rare. A representative of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Richard J. Bleicher, M.D., F.A.C.S., that though the patients should be informed about this potential breast augmentation risk, they should not panic since there is not so much to worry about for the meantime. Not enough data supports the claims that the cancer is really caused by breast implants. It is also very uncommon and the treatment of this type of cancer is possible since the area with which the cancer emerged is most likely localised to the breast part around the implant. The only thing that surgeons and doctors advise their breast augmentation patients is to be vigilant and compliant with their regularly scheduled mammograms every year. The FDA also advises women (and men) who have undergone breast augmentation using implants to have their MRI scans taken every three years so that the overall condition of the implant and the surgical procedure itself gets checked and monitored regularly.

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