FDA warns that breast implants may be linked to additional cancers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning for doctors and patients on Thursday after fielding nearly two dozen reports from people with breast implants being diagnosed with multiple types of cancer.

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The warning specifically urged people with implants or those considering getting them to remain vigilant because certain cancers may develop in scar tissue forming around the implants, The New York Times reported.

As of Sept. 1, the FDA had received 10 reports about squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, and 12 reports about various lymphomas, a cancer of the immune system, related to breast implants, NBC News reported.

In a separate report, the agency stated that adequate information has not yet been collected to determine whether breast implants cause the cancers or if some implant varieties pose higher risks than others, the network reported.

According to the Times, researchers had already linked an atypical cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma “primarily to textured implants, whose rough exteriors presumably cause more inflammation than those of smooth implants.”

Despite the apparent rarity of the recent cancers reported, the confirmed cases have been linked to implants of all types, “including those with with textured and smooth surfaces, and those filled with saline or silicone,” the newspaper reported.

Binita Ashar, the director of the Office of Surgical and Infection Control Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, stated in a news release that the agency wanted to provide “clear and understandable information” to the public as soon as possible.

For instance, Ashar stated that some of the breast implant recipients who reported contracting cancer had symptoms of swelling, pain, lumps or skin changes.

She also confirmed that the reports are separate from breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which the FDA started warning about more than 10 years ago, The Hill reported.

According to the Times, some 400,000 people get breast implants nationwide each year, with an estimated quarter of those procedures requested for reconstruction after mastectomies performed to treat or prevent breast cancer. The remaining 300,000 annual implant procedures are performed for cosmetic reasons.

Meanwhile, the FDA clarified that the warning issued Thursday does not recommend people remove breast implants because of the guidance, only that they monitor their implants and seek surgical or primary care for any abnormal changes.



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