FDA orders plastic surgeons to warn patients about CANCER RISKS linked to breast implants
Some women get breast implants for purely cosmetic reasons, but others may opt for a medical procedure for breast reconstruction after cancer surgery.
Regardless of the reason, the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) has again ordered plastic surgeons to warn their patients about the cancer risks linked to breast implants
Breast implants and skin cancer risk
The FDA previously warned the public that breast implants can cause a type of skin cancer and cancers that harm the immune system.
Based on the updated safety alert recently released by the FDA, the recorded case numbers of squamous cell carcinoma
(SCC) in breast implant patients had almost doubled since September 2022 – from 10 reports to 19
SCC is a type of skin cancer. The FDA warned that three deaths due to the disease had been reported. While the FDA claimed that cases of skin cancer in breast implant patients
are rare, the agency also admitted that it did not know why they were occurring.
According to data, SCC forms in the scar tissue around the breast implant, also called the capsule
, after a surgery. (Related: FDA safety alert: Cancers found in scar tissue surrounding breast implants
SCC is not usually deadly, but some cases can be life-threatening. At least 1.8 million cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed in America annually.
When squamous cell carcinoma is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. But if SCC is discovered early, the survival rate is 99 percent.
Unfortunately, after SCC has spread beyond the skin, the five-year survival rate drops to below 50 percent.
In the FDA's alert, the agency added that the cancers were not the same as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma
(BIA-ALCL), which is a type of cancer already known to be triggered by breast implants.
The FDA warned healthcare providers that they should make sure to "include information about SCC and various lymphomas in the capsule around the breast implant" when talking to patients who have or are considering getting breast implants.
The agency also said that all cases of all cancers in the capsule around the breast implant must be reported to the FDA.
According to the majority of reported SCC cases, patients experience swelling and painful breasts as symptoms. Other symptoms reported included lumps and skin discoloration.
Some patients have also reported that they have had their implants for up to 42 years before developing SCC or other types of lymphoma.
Other health risks linked to breast implants
Patients undergo breast implants to boost their breast size via breast augmentation. Others may want to replace breast tissue that has been removed due to cancer or trauma, or tissue that has not developed properly.
According to data, breast augmentation is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in America. More than 313,000 breast surgeries were performed in 2018, indicating a 48 percent increase since 2000.
Doctors have hypothesized that the textured surface of the implants might trigger some women's immune systems to react in a way that causes cancer.
But according to the FDA's most recent update, cases of SCC were also found in women who had smooth implants at the time of diagnosis.
Over the last few years, efforts had been made to inform patients about the many health risks of getting a breast implant. Doctors were also ordered to guide patients through the health problems to give them the opportunity to cancel the procedure.
BIA-ALCL, or breast implant illness,
is often contained inside the tissue surrounding your implant
. But it can also spread to other parts of your body's lymphatic system, such as the lymph nodes.
The main symptoms of breast implant illness include:
- Fluid collection around the breast implant.
- Continuous swelling or pain around the breast implant may occur after a surgical incision has healed or even several years after the implants are inserted.
- Capsular contracture can cause a lump under the skin or thick scar tissue around the breast implant. This can give the breasts a misshapen appearance.
Symptoms of other breast implant complications vary. Infection is one complication associated with BIA-ALCL, and it is crucial to treat any breast implant complications that arise.
Check with your physician immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Change in breast shape or color
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