The cancers that may be linked to breast implants, and how to spot the signs
- The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about cancers that may be linked to breast implants.
- Multiple types of cancers may be linked to implants, including lymphomas and squamous cell carcinoma.
On September 8, 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about cancers that may be linked to breast implants in rare cases, including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and types of lymphoma previously not known to have an association with breast cancer.
The FDA said that it knows of fewer than 20 cases of SCC and fewer than 30 cases of other lymphomas found in the capsule surrounding the breast implant.
The agency previously warned of a possible link between anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and breast implants in 2011.
These cancers are rare and people with breast implants do not need to have their implants removed, the FDA said in the announcement. But they should keep an eye out for symptoms.
Here are some of the more common symptoms to watch out for.
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma and other lymphomas
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a type of lymphoma that forms in the scar tissue around breast implants. Swelling and a mass or pain near the breast implant are common symptoms, according to the FDA, as well as fluid collection around the implant, a lump underneath the skin, and a thick scar around the breast implant's capsule.
Dr. Colleen McCarthy, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said a change in breast size, pain in the breast or chest, and a rash on the skin are also symptoms to discuss with a doctor.
56-year-old Robbie Hegwood previously told Insider that she felt pain in her breasts and experienced rashes all over her body before being diagnosed with BIA-ALCL.
BIA-ALCL appears to be more common in textured implants in comparison to smooth ones, according to the FDA.
The FDA has not given details about the other types of lymphomas that may be linked to breast implants.
Mammograms won't screen for lymphomas, McCarthy said, which makes it especially important to look out for symptoms and talk to a doctor if you're concerned.
Lymphoma symptoms can include fever, chills, and night sweats, she said.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that occurs in the skin's squamous cells, which construct the middle and outer layer of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. The cancer is most commonly found on the head, neck, nose, and mouth, but can occur anywhere on the body, McCarthy said. It is rare for SCC to occur in the scar tissue around the implant, she said, and it's unclear why it happens.
According to McCarthy, the same symptoms that appear in BIA-ALCL also show up in SCC when it's associated with breast implants, including swelling of the breast, a lump or bump in the breast, rash, pain, and firmness around the implant.
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