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FDA investigates cancer link to breast implants patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said recently that it is looking for a possible link between anaplastic large cell lymphoma (rare cancer type) and breast implants. While any association with cancer is dangerous, the increased risk in women with implants is very small.

According to Dr. William Maisel, deputy director for science and chief scientist in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, they have identified 60 ALCL cases among an estimated 5-10 million women with breast implants all around the world.

ALCL usually manifests in the breast in only 3 women in 100 million. Hence, the extra cases – in women who had silicone or saline implants for reconstruction or augmentation – which the FDA has collected points to potential threat.

The administration is asking plastic surgeons to report any ALCL diagnoses in women with implants. Although Dr. Maisel specified that only those who are having trouble with breast implants – asymmetry, swelling, lumps, or pain – should consult their doctor for any further evaluation.

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