Six years ago, the Food and Drug Administration reported a possible connection
between specific types of breast implants and cancer. At that time, the
evidence and technology was not advanced enough to draw certain conclusions.
Late last month, however, the FDA announced that a rare form of lymphoma
has indeed been linked to breast implants.
359 cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma have been reported as having
possible connections to breast implants since February 1, 2017 alone.
ALCL is a rare form of cancer that doesn’t form in the breast, but
has been shown to occur more frequently in recipients of breast implants
with textured surfaces. All but 28 of the 359 cases since February were
textured, as opposed to smooth implants.
ALCL is said to affect immune system cells and can be found in skin or
lymph nodes around implants. This form of cancer leads to symptoms such
as redness, fluid buildup, hardening, swelling or a mass around the implants.
Just as women without implants should undergo regular checkups for lumps
and other abnormalities, so should women that have undergone breast augmentation
surgery to receive implants. Fortunately, ALCL is usually treatable when
detected early and isn’t known to be especially fast-growing or
While the FDA is not recommending drastic action, such as removing breast
implants without symptoms, it does strongly urge women to schedule regular
checkups. To better track potential cases associated with ALCL and breast
implants, the Plastic Surgery Foundation has provided digital methods
to report cases of this type of cancer if believed to have been linked
with implants. Visit
thepsf.org if you’d like to report a case.