Breast augmentation is insanely popular. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, it was the most requested cosmetic procedure in 2016. Unfortunately, administrators from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are now warning people about a rare form of lymphoma linked to breast implants.
Hundreds of cases have been discovered according to Healthline. Now, the FDA desires doctors to look for the tell-tale signs of the serious illness.
The cancer is a kind of lymphoma known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, BIA-ALCL. The FDA reported that at least 457 individuals have gotten the disease. Since this type of cancer was first recounted in 2011, nine people have died of the illness.
A type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, this cancer negatively affects your immune system cells. It can occur in numerous areas of your body, such as your skin and lymph nodes. BIA-ALCL can show up in your breast tissue. But, it’s not considered a form of breast cancer.
Concerning this disease, the FDA already had advice for plastic surgeons according to Healthline. However, they now want other doctors, including ER physicians, internal medicine doctors, OB-GYNs, and radiologists to monitor for specific warning signs.
In a statement issued to healthcare professionals, the government agency stated they want physicians to consider if BIA-ALCL is a possibility when they have a patient with a fluid collection or peri-implant seroma. The FDA recommends that doctors collect fluid and send it to a pathologist to screen for signs of cancer. If doctors spot masses around an implant, the FDA also wishes for them to consider BIA-ALCL as an option.
Perhaps, in light of these developments, you’re wondering if one type of breast implant is safer than another. Right now, your odds of developing BIA-ALCL are roughly the same regardless of whether you have silicone or saline implants.
But, health professionals have discovered that most individuals who get the disease are more likely to have textured implants rather than smooth ones.
Determining how often people get this form of cancer is difficult. The FDA estimated that one out of every 3,817 to 30,000 women having textured breast implants are at risk for developing this rare form of lymphoma.
The Westchester County regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in New York, Dr. Alice Police, remarked that health professionals aren’t certain why some patients get the disease. However, it may be a result of their bodies rejecting a foreign object.
She informed Healthline, “We don’t really know exactly what the mechanism is. The thought is that the textured implants are very irritating to the tissue and cause a lot of tissue reaction that may lead to a malignancy.”
According to the FDA, fluid buildup and irritation are among the first symptoms of this type of cancer. Police noted, “It usually occurs as fluid around the implant and what people first notice is an inflammation of the breast.”
Frighteningly, BIA-ALCL often appears years after you have an implant operation. Patients who’ve had the procedure should look for any changes occurring around their surgical areas. Police stated that people “who have pain and swelling several years after the placement of their implants” need to see their physician in order to get tested for the cancer.
If you have breast implants, Police shared her opinion that you shouldn’t remove them. The doctor said, “We’re currently not recommending that asymptomatic women with breast implants go and have their breast implants removed.” If you’re not experiencing any symptoms, taking your implants out could put you at unwarranted risks for other surgical problems.
Because the number of cases is small compared to the amount of women who’ve gotten breast implants, Police doesn’t think those who have implants or want them should be terribly concerned about the risk of getting BIA-ALCL.
But, she did say, “I do think patients who are going to get implants should not get the textured implants.”
The threat of cancer isn’t the only reason Police and other medical experts discourage women from seeking breast implants. According to the FDA, cosmetically enhanced breasts may require additional surgeries, with or without the removal of the implants. Cosmopolitan reported that an astounding 25 percent of women will need another surgery after 10 years.
After getting implants, you face the risk of them rupturing. You may also experience breast pain. Therefore, before you go under the knife, carefully weighing all the pros and cons of breast implants is essential.