New report links breast implants to cancer

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 11:52AM
There are new concerns for women who get breast implants. A new report is linking those implants to cancer.


There are new concerns for women who get breast implants. A new report is linking those implants to cancer.

Nearly 400,000 women get breast implants in the U.S. every year. And now a widely-shared story in the New York Times is raising major health concerns.

Stacey Boone was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 but she never suspected her breast implants were to blame. "I thought I had the flu. I was having hot flashes, severe sweating. Under my armpit, there were not only one but four nodules in my lymph nodes," she said.

She was diagnosed with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL.

Boone is not alone. The FDA says in the last six years, there have been 359 reports of possible breast implant-associated cancer, including nine deaths.

"There may be something about the texture of the implant inducing some inflammation, causing the cancer. But it is currently not well understood why it happens," Moffitt Cancer Center oncologist Dr. Frederick Locke said.

It's a very rare and potentially deadly form of cancer that affects cells in the immune system found around the breast implant.

"This type of cancer has been more associated with this type of textured or gummy bear implant versus the smooth kind. You also want to ask, will it be under the muscle. Most are, and if you're getting silicone will you need some kind of imaging follow up," said ABC Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

"I had my implants done in the early 90s and I was never told that I needed to go back and have them checked every so many years," Boone said.

There's good news for Boone. After chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, she's now in remission and next month will be two years cancer-free.

The FDA doesn't have exact guidelines for how often you should get your implants checked. They recommend talking to your doctor for an individualized monitoring plan.

Symptoms of ALCL include redness, pain, some swelling or asymmetry in one breast, but it is general treatable.
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