Can Breast Implants Cause Cancer?
On March 21st, the FDA announced its findings that breast implants are linked to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare but deadly form of cancer. This is not the first time breast implants have been linked to ALCL, but it is the first time that conclusive evidence of correlation has been shown. In the 10 years the FDA has been collecting data on a link between ALCL and breast implants, 359 cases have been reported to the agency. A majority of those were from women who had received textured implants, leading the agency to believe there is a link between implant type and ALCL. This link, however, needs further review.
359 cases in 10 years may seem like a lot, but this actually represents a very small percentage of breast augmentation patients. During that same time, nearly 3 million breast augmentation procedures were performed by board-certified plastic surgeons according to data collected by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, making instances of ALCL incredibly rare. Just how rare? ALCL develops in approximately 0.01% of women who have had breast augmentation.
In addition to being very rare, ALCL is easily treated when caught early on. Developing in the breast implant pocket, implant-related ALCL can typically be treated by simply removing the implant and capsule surrounding it. Some cases have required chemotherapy or radiation, but most have responded quite well to implant removal alone. However, early detection is important, making it a good idea to know what symptoms may indicate a problem with your breast implants.
Symptoms of ALCL may include:
- Painless swelling around the implant
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of appetite
If you have breast implants and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Eisemann at 855-813-7077 to schedule an examination.
As with most implant-related complications, chances of developing cancer following breast augmentation are extremely rare. However, board-certified Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Eisemann strongly believes that all patients deserve to have full information about the risks and benefits of any chosen procedure. During your initial consultation at our comfortable office, Dr. Eisemann will listen to all concerns you have about breast implant complications, answer your questions openly and honestly, and help you determine if breast augmentation is the best choice for your needs.
Making the Best Decision for You
The Plastic Surgery Foundation, along with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is continuing to study the link between breast implants and ALCL. A website with information on ongoing and already completed studies can be found here.
Researching the potential risks of breast augmentation allows you to measure its risks vs. benefits. We would encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eisemann as well, to make sure all of your questions are answered and you are better able to make the decision that is best for your physical and emotional needs.
Breast augmentation is, by and large, a very safe procedure that has helped millions of women achieve the look they find most desirable. If you are interested in learning more about the procedure and what it can do for you, please contact the Eisemann Plastic Surgery Center to schedule a consultation at our Houston office today. Dr. Eisemann welcomes breast augmentation patients from The Woodlands, Conroe, Katy, Sugar Land, and all surrounding areas.