Canadian plastic surgeons have been asked to warn their patients with breast implants (silicone-filled and saline-filled) that they are at risk for a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL. The request comes from the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgery.
“There is a rare type of ALCL sceen in breast implant patients, both with aesthetic and reconstructive, called BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma),” the letter from the professional groups states. “Affected implants from both manufacturers that distribute in Canada have been seen along with other major implant companies worldwide.”
The letters advise women of this risk and that the disease most commonly presents with delayed fluid collection. Women should contact their plastic surgeon if they experience any changes with their breasts that are concerning to them.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that it had received more reports of ALCL in women with breast implants, and reviewed as many as 250 cases in women worldwide. “All the information to date still suggests that women with breast implants may have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL,” the FDA said in a Safety Advisory.
For years, doctors and women alike have dismissed concerns that breast implants could cause cancer or other problems. But more studies are providing evidence to the contrary. And even though the risk of ALCL is low, breast implants have also been linked to other health problems stemming from mold of fungus contaminating implants that has allegedly caused allergic reactions, autoimmune reactions and infections. Breast implant toxicity is often misdiagnosed, making recovery an arduous process for some women.