October 30, 2017 — A new study from researchers at Penn State warns that textured breast implants can likely cause a rare form of cancer called Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (ALCL).
In a review published in the journal JAMA Surgery, researchers said ALCL “really only started to appear after textured implants came on the market in the 1990s,” according to Dr. Dino Ravnic at Penn State College of Medicine. He said:
“We’re seeing that this cancer is likely very underreported, and as more information on this type of cancer comes to light, the number of cases is likely to increase in the coming years.”
The FDA has issued warnings about breast implant lymphoma earlier this year, citing at least 359 reports worldwide, including 9 deaths.
The researchers received 95 cases of breast implant-associated lymphoma and reported that the cancer is likely caused by chronic infections, which cause infection-fighting T-cells to become cancerous.
The study suggests that the average time between getting a textured breast implant and developing cancer is about 10 years. In most cases, patients are diagnosed after they develop a fluid-filled seroma around the implant — but for some women, the first sign is a lump.
The researchers said no cases of ALCL were reported from the pre-textured breast implant era, “which suggests a causal relationship with textured implants.” Furthermore, all breast implant manufacturers have had cases of ALCL associated with their textured implants.
Unlike smooth-surfaced breast implants, studies show that textured breast implants are problematic because they can hide bacteria. The bacteria causes a chronic low-level infection that increases the risk of lymphoma after many years, according to several recent studies.
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