Women with breast implants are at increased risk of developing a rare type of cancer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said. But how do these implants increase the risk of cancer?
On Tuesday (March 21), the FDA said that, in light of new data, the agency now recognizes that a rare type of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) can develop after a person receives breast implants. ALCL is not breast cancer; rather, it is a type of lymphoma , which is a cancer of immune system cells, the FDA said in a statement. In the cases that were reported to the FDA, the cancer typically occurred in the scar tissue around the implant, the agency said. So the cancer occurs in the immune system cells around the breast implant, but not in the breast tissue cells themselves.
From June 2010 to Feb. 1, 2017, the agency received more than 350 reports of this cancer linked to breast implants, including nine cases of patients who died from the cancer. Some of the women in these reports were diagnosed with the cancer as early as 1996.
Still, the risk of this cancer is low; one study from the Netherlands estimated that there were about one to three cases of ALCL per 1 million women with implants per year. In the United States, about one in 500,000 women is diagnosed with ALCL each year, although the incidence of this cancer specifically among U.S. women with breast implants is not known, according to the FDA.
“All of the information to date suggests that women with breast implants have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL compared to women who do not have breast implants,” the FDA said. [ 7 Plastic Surgery Myths Revealed ]