More cases of an unusual cancer associated with breast implants have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration, the agency said in a Safety Communication.
Since last year, the number of reports of breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has increased from 359 to 414 cases. The number of deaths remains at nine, though the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a professional society of plastic surgeons, reports 16 deaths from this malignancy of the immune system.
The agency once called the cancer rare, but now says the odds of it occurring in women with textured beast implants is from 1 in 30,000 to 1 in 3,817.
When detected early, BIA-ALCL can usually be cured by surgery to remove the implant and the capsule of scar tissue that forms around it. But some women have required chemotherapy and radiation. For some, the disease can be fatal.
A primary symptom of BIA-ALCL is swelling around the implant, which can occur anywhere from two years to 28 years after breast implant surgery. The median time frame is eight years. The disease is mostly seen in women whose implants have a textured coating instead of a smooth one. The contents of the implant – salt water or saline – are not believed to play a role in the development of the cancer.
Some researchers believe the textured implants may irritate surrounding tissue and cause inflammation that can lead to lymphoma. Others say that the textured surface may trap bacteria and cause chronic infections that can lead to cancer.
About 300,000 women in the U.S. get breast implants, half of whom get them for cosmetic reasons and the other half for reconstruction after breast cancer surgery. About 10 million women worldwide have breast implants.
Source: FDA Safety Communication