Breast Implants Linked to Rare Cancer Study

Early detection of breast cancer key to remission.

A recent study published by WebMD indicates that there is a very small risk of some women contracting a rare form of cancer called Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma or ALCL in women who have breast implants.

ALCL is not a form of breast cancer and rarely ever is found in the breasts themselves, however, it is also an extremely rare form of cancer that affects less than .00006% of women who have breast implants. The correlation is so insignificantly small a person has almost a better chance of being struck by lighting in their lifetime.

Why the concern with such small percentages? The majority of ALCL cases in women, who have implants, have shown ALCL cancer cells encased in capsules surrounding the breast implant. These capsules, known as capsular contracture are most commonly caused by biofilms or infection to the breast area and not caused by the breast implant themselves.

A study published by Roger Wixtrom, PhD, suggests that Biofilms are the primary cause of capsular contracture, and not the implant themselves. The body’s immune system reacts to the biofilms by encasing the implant in a capsule.

This study suggest that a contaminated breast implant can harbor bacteria on it’s surface during surgery. The body then encases the implant with a capsule, reacting to the bacteria. It is this capsule that has shown to contain the ALCL cells in those few women who contracted this rare form of cancer.

It is very important that women research their options prior to surgery and find a board certified plastic surgeon and a facility that is accredited for it’s safety in standardized surgery compliancy policies.

The FDA has recommended that women routinely get checked and pay very close attention to their breast implants. If they find anything out of the ordinary they are to visit their healthcare provider immediately. Future patients wishing to undergo breast augmentation should also discuss possible risks as well as the benefits of breast augmenation with their plastic surgeon.

Even though the numbers of women who have contracted ALCL, are very, very small, the findings are significant to warrant further studies, however, it shouldn’t deter a woman from going forward with breast augmentation surgery.


Learn More about this story in this video from ABC News

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