The Food and Drug Administration claims that it has discovered a probable link between breast implants and a rare form of cancer. The agency determined after reviewing data published between 1997 and 2010 that people with both saline and silicone gel-filled implants have a small yet signicant risk of developing anaplastic large cell hymphoma (ALCL), a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
ALCL is a fast-growing lymphoma that affects the lymph nodes but also may appear on the skin. This rare form of cancer is more common in young adults and can be cured with aggressive chemotherapy, radition or surgery from early detection. About 1 in 500,000 women are diagnosed with ALCL each year in the United States.
The FDA is currently requesting that all breast implant manufacturers update their product labeling to include the possible risk and that doctors pay attention to patients that exhibit fluid around their implants.
“We need more data and are asking that health care professionals tell us about any confirmed cases they identify,” Dr. William Maisel, chief scientist and deputy director for science at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, told CNN. “We are working with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and other experts in the field to establish a breast implant patient registry, which should help us better understand the development of ALCL in women with breast implants.”
If a woman notices any changes with their implants, they should see their doctors immediately. Women with breast implants that don’t notice any differences will only need a routine follow-up, Maisel added.
The FDA will be updating its review of silicone gel-filled implants, and plan to release their findings in the spring.