Breast Implants Can Cause Cancer?

Breast implants CAN cause cancer. And what you choose to do with that information is scary for MANY women today. Let’s start by getting the facts straight.

The Facts on Breast Implant-Associated Cancer:

  1. The increased cancer risk is called Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). It is a form of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It is not actually a form of “breast cancer” but a cancer that develops near the implant itself.
  2. The FDA’s most recent data (as of July 24, 2019) reports a global incidence of 573 cases of BIA-ALCL and 33 deaths.
  3. The BIA-ALCL cancer has been linked to a certain brand and type of implant and tissue expander: Allergan BIOCELL textured breast implant products in 481 of the 573 cases and 12 out of 13 of the known causes of death. This means an increased risk of 6 times that of other implants.
  4. Allergan has voluntarily issued a recall on these products. I will provide links below to the specific names included in the recall if you would like further information.
  5. This has nothing to do with the traditional silicone versus saline debate as similar numbers were seen with both types.

Here’s where the information gets a little blurry for patients, though. Let’s say that you know your implant type. I hope you do but not everyone has that information. If you are not sure, your plastic surgeon will likely have the information you need. And you do have an Allergan BIOCELL textured implant. What do you do? Should you call up your surgeon and have it removed?

The average time from implant placement to cancer was 9 years. So, if you had it placed a year ago – should you wait awhile? Where the heck do you go with this information?

The current medical recommendation is AGAINST removal of these implants, even if you have the specific types that are being recalled. The recommendation is FOR close monitoring and removal if symptoms develop.

What symptoms should you look for?

The most common reported symptoms included lumps, swelling, and pain around the implant itself. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to head to your Doctor and have it looked at.

Lastly, remember that breast implants don’t last forever. They are a foreign body in your body and, because of that need close monitoring. The typical recommendation is to replace implants after 10 years. Many patients ignore that information but, this increased cancer risk, makes that plan even more important.

Simple Solution: CERTAIN breast implants ARE associated with an increased risk of lymphoma. Know your implant type, monitor for symptoms, and head to your Doctor if you have any questions.

If you would like more information from the FDA visit:

For more Blog Posts on Cancer Prevention:

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Yearly Physicals:

Skin Cancer Prevention: