This week, federal regulators (FDA) announced an increased risk of a certain form of breast cancer after the popular breast implant surgery.
The FDA warned that at least nine people have died from a rare form of lymphoma cancer linked to certain types of breast implants, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
According to the New York Times, the deaths were not caused by breast cancer, but by a rare malignancy in the immune system, anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. This rare form of cancer from implants grows in the breast, usually in the capsule of scar tissue that forms around an implant.
According to the FDA, the agency received at least 359 medical device reports involving breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which is a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
FDA and World Health Organization report of cancer link
The FDA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have determined that breast implants are associated with the T-cell lymphoma.
FDA knew about the increased risk of breast cancer since 2011
The FDA first warned about breast implant ALCL in January 2011, noting that there was at least 60 cases worldwide at the time, and that the disease was linked to both saline and silicone breast implants.
In February 2017, the FDA indicated that it has received 359 medical device reports of BIA-ALCL, including nine deaths. The FDA received data on the breast implant surface in 231 of the reports, and 203 of those involved the use of implants with textured surfaces, while only 28 of those cases were linked to implants with smooth surfaces.
ALCL is Lymphoma – Not Cancer of the Breast Tissue
When breast implants are placed in the body, over time, a fibrous scar called a capsule develops around the implant, separating it from the rest of the breast. In women with breast implants, the ALCL was generally found adjacent to the implant itself and contained within the fibrous capsule. ALCL is lymphoma, a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system. It is not cancer of the breast tissue.
The agency is recommending that doctors be aware that lymphoma cancer cases have been linked to textured breast implants, and that they should discuss the benefits and side effects of the implants with their patients. The FDA recommends that doctors consider the diagnosis that a breast implant patient is suffering from anaplastic large cell lymphoma when they present with post implant persistent fluid around the breast implant.
Patients are advised to be aware of the cancer risk, talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of textured versus smooth breast implants and to continue with routine medical care and follow-ups.
The FDA is calling on both doctors and patients to report any cases of ALCL in women with breast implants to its MedWatch adverse event reporting program.
Shezad Malik is an Internal Medicine and Cardiology specialist, a Texas Medical Doctor (retired) and Defective Medical Device and Dangerous Drug Attorney. Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others.