FDA Warns About New Cancer Risks Related To Breast Implants


Pointers at Glance

  • Breast implants have been related to additional forms of cancer that include squamous cell carcinoma and various lymphomas.
  • The FDA anticipates these types of cancers to be rare in people with breast implants.

According to a warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), breast implants have been related to more forms of cancer.

The FDA has initially warned women of breast implants’ association with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). However, these reports say implants may be connected to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and various lymphomas.

Dr. Haripriya S. Ayyala, a Yale Medicine plastic and reconstructive surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine, said that breast implant-associated squamous cell carcinoma (BIA-SCC) is a relatively rare but certainly aggressive tumor that can spread to local tissues and distant sites. There are only 16 reported cases of BIA-SCC to date. Hence, it is difficult to determine which factors increase the risk for this disease.

It is unclear what the risk factors are for cancer in and around breast implants. It is also unaware of what the incidence rate is. However, the FDA trusts that the occurrence of these types of cancer within the breast implant capsule is rare.

When breast implants were approved, there were reports of SCC and certain lymphomas in the capsule around the breast implant for smooth and textured breast implants along with silicone and saline breast implants.

The patients were diagnosed years after getting the implants and experienced various symptoms, including pain, swelling, lumps, and skin changes.

A 2021 report found that the median age at diagnosis was 60, and the average time from implant to diagnosis was 25 years.

BIA-ALCL is found in the scar tissue near the breast implant but can spread throughout the body. The risk of developing BIA-ALCL from breast implants is low, but it can happen and be life-threatening. Patients with breast implants who develop BIA-ALCL commonly need to have the implants and scar tissue removed and undergo radiation or chemotherapy.

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