Can breast implants raise risk of breast cancer? The US Food and Drug Administration found out that there is an association between breast implants and the development of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), which is a rare cancer of the immune system. The common symptoms are persistent swelling and a mass or pain around the area of the breast implant. These symptoms may show up years after the implants were placed. Researchers are still trying to understand this better. (Also read: Experts on what are the warning signs to reduce breast cancer)
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had reported that a small number of cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) had been found in the scar tissue of women with breast implants. The FDA is aware of fewer than 20 of these cases of SCC. While the finding appears rare among the millions of women with implants, any new change in or around a breast implant — such as swelling, pain, a new lump, or a new rash — should be evaluated by a doctor,” says Dr Mohit Sharma, Senior Consultant and HOD, Deptt of Medical Oncology, Fortis Cancer Institute, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad.
In a typical year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, approximately 400,000 women receive breast implants in the United States alone —whether it be for breast reconstructive surgery or cosmetic breast augmentation.
“Based on the data available about these cases, it seems that SCC developed in women with saline and silicone, as well as smooth and textured, implants. This is a rare event,” says Dr Sharma.
Other side effects of breast implants
“This report follows an FDA announcement in October 2021 about new safety requirements for breast implants. The agency placed a ‘black box’ warning on all breast implants to inform patients of the potential risks, including Breast Implant – Associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL), and other symptoms that some patients with breast implants have experienced, including fatigue, joint pain, tiredness, brain fog, and memory loss,” says Dr Sharma.
“According to the current scientific understanding, silicone breast implants do not appear to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate this topic, and the evidence suggests that there is no significant association between breast implants (either silicone or saline) and breast cancer development. However, it’s important to regularly monitor breast health through self-examinations and mammograms as recommended by healthcare professionals. If you have any concerns, it’s best to consult with a medical expert who can provide personalized advice,” says Dr Rohan Khandelwal – Lead Consultant- The Breast Centre, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.
“Breast implants don’t cause breast cancer. They don’t raise your chances of breast cancer, either. But research does show that women with breast implants have a higher chance of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a type of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” adds Dr Khandelwal.
“Breast implants can have a smooth or rough-textured shell. Textured breast implants are associated with BIA-ALCL, a cancer of the immune system. The FDA has quantified the risk from 1 in 3,000 patients to up to 1 in 30,000 patients. The risk of this lymphoma likely depends on the specific manufacturer of a textured implant and, in some cases, may be lower than these estimates,” says Dr Sharma.
“It’s important to know that so far there are no confirmed cases of BIA-ALCL worldwide in individuals who have only ever had smooth breast implants. The FDA safety rules also mandate that manufacturers sell the breast implants only to health providers who review a Patient Decision Checklist of potential risks with patients before surgery,” says Dr Sharma.
The FDA has advised against implant use in patients who:
• Have an active infection anywhere in the body;
• Have existing cancer or precancer of the breast tissue that has not been adequately treated
• Are pregnant or nursing.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com