Whatever beauty enhancement is available on the market, if any of them gets associated with cancer or any life-threatening disease, the demand and its efficiency, of course, can be concerning and may be questioned. So when the news broke that breast implants can cause cancer, the need to know the truth and the fear of patients undergoing breast augmentation rose remarkably. Let us find the truth about breast implants cancer, its symptoms, and if patients with breast implants should really be concerned about this type of cancer.
Breast implants cancer: Is it true?
On 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the news that a new but rare type of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has been discovered and the primary victims are those patients who underwent breast augmentation or reconstruction using breast implants.
According to the FDA, patients with textured breast implants are more prone to develop this rare type of cancer. A statistics study showed that 1 in 30,000 women with textured breast implants could develop BIA-ACLC.
Breast implants cancer: Is BIA-ACLC a recurring breast cancer?
No. BIA-ACLC is not cancer of the breast tissue but is actually a type of cancer of the lymph nodes, a part of the body’s immune system. The lymph node where the cancer was detected just happens to be located at the breasts. In BIA-ACLC, this type of lymphoma affects the scar tissue surrounding the textured surfaces of women’s breast implants.
Breast implants cancer: What are the symptoms of BIA-ACLC
Because ACLC, in general, is a very rare type of cancer, studies regarding its association with breast implants are still questionable. There are very little data supporting its existence, but patients who are successfully identified to have BIA-ACLC showed symptoms including pain, swelling, and tenderness around the breasts due to increased fluid build-up around the implant. The patient can also notice palpable and tender lymph nodes in armpits and breast areas.
Breast implants cancer: The medical advice
With this news outbreak, women and men who would want to have their breasts enhanced, as well as those people who already had breast implants placed are now more wary about their safety as well as the efficiency and worth of breast augmentation. Here are some essential medical reminders and advice from doctors, plastic surgeons, and oncologists alike, about breast implants cancer.
- Breast implants are relatively safe. As one of the most researched and studied cosmetic surgery materials in the world, breast implants have undergone numerous tests and quality checks before being offered for public medical and cosmetic use. The association of implants to this type of cancer should never diminish the fact that implants are made and used to safely improve your breasts’ size and shape.
- BIA-ACLC requires more studies to confirm its relation to this method of breast augmentation. Since the occurrence of ACLC is generally rare as mentioned earlier, its cause and frequency are yet to be determined. Moreover, since this rare cancer is also a rare condition for textured breast implants users, their relation is still under wraps but possible.
- Developing cancer using breast implants should always be discussed during the initial consultation. Despite the limited information gathered to support BIA-ACLC, doctors and plastic surgeons alike should still consider discussing with their patients the potential risk of developing cancer after breast augmentation. This will give the patients all the details about the pros and cons of having their breasts artificially enhanced.
- Patients with breast implants should remain calm. As long as you are following your plastic surgeon’s advice about routine follow-ups and regular ultrasound, MRI, or mammogram following your cosmetic surgery, you should not feel threatened by this debilitating disease. Just be vigilant and mindful about any changes with regard to your comfort, and report to your doctor any sign or symptom that you may feel or notice.