Routine Care For Women With Breast Implants
Before I go into the specifics of diagnosing BIA-ALCL, I want to emphasize the importance of routine check-ups of your breast implants. Remember, breast implants are not meant to be lifetime devices. And as your implants age, your risk of developing certain complications increase, whatever type or style of implant you have.
If you notice anything new or strange with your breast implants, its time to schedule an appointment with your plastic surgeon. Even if you havent noticed any changes, I recommend booking a check-up around the 10-year-mark so you can make sure all is well.
Should I Get My Old Breast Implants Removed
It is important to realize that the Food and Drug Administration notes that breast implants are not expected to last a lifetime. That means that for most women, they will need to remove or change their breast implants after a certain amount of years. Leaving in breast implants for too long could potentially increase BIA-ALCL risk.
You should talk to your doctor if you believe that you may be at risk for the development of BIA-ALCL. Some doctors recommend the removal of the implants if a patient is thought to be at risk. Other doctors recommend waiting until any BIA-ALCL cancer is found before removing the implants. The FDA actually does not recommend removal unless it is medically needed.
If you are worried about BIA-ALCL, talk to your doctor about your next course of action. Your doctor may recommend the removal of your breast implants, but getting a full medical evaluation is the best way to figure out the way forward. Your doctor may tell you that the best course of action is simply to wait and watch for any signs or symptoms of BIA-ALCL.
Possible Reasons For Not Having An Implant Reconstruction
This type of reconstruction is not always recommended if you are having radiotherapy to the area. Radiation increases the risk of the implant becoming hard and might distort the shape of the breast. It can also make the skin less stretchy.
Your surgeon will talk to you about the options for reconstruction if you need radiotherapy.
You can’t have this type of reconstruction if you have had a radical mastectomy because the chest muscles will have been removed.
Read Also: What Is Stage 3a Breast Cancer
Fda Demands More Information On Cancer And Illnesses Caused By Breast Implants
The Food and Drug Administration decided to keep the device on the market, but wants to know more about the illnesses they may potentially be linked to.
Despite emotional testimony from women who say their breast implants made them sick with cancer or autoimmune symptoms, the Food and Drug Administration has no plans to ban the textured implants that are being blamed.
At a March 25 hearing, an FDA panel supported better product labeling and informed consent about the potential dangers of the devices, including a new, breast implant-related cancer and an autoimmune syndrome education of women who already have implants about the signs of the cancer so that they and their doctors can detect it early and an enhanced national registry of women with implants, which would allow tracking of specific device types to see if they are tied to the illnesses. A representative of the Plastic Surgery Foundation said it is working to establish such a registry.
The panel also agreed that more research needs to be regarding how breast implants can play a role in the development of cancer and autoimmune conditions. Josef Zundorf, M.D., of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, testified that an international consortium will prepare research proposals on these topics to be considered in the second half of this year.
Two Kinds of Illness
Also Check: What Does Stage 1 Breast Cancer Mean
Emerging Risks Of Breast Implants
Doctorsoften present breast reconstruction surgery as an important step that can help womenmove forward and feel more comfortable with their appearance after amastectomy. And formany, it does more than 60% of women choose to have some kind ofreconstruction after mastectomy, and most report they are satisfied with theresults.1
Like any surgery, breast reconstruction procedures carry risks, and reconstruction with implants the most common type of breast reconstruction carries risks that some women whove undergone the procedure say they werent adequately warned about.
The FDA has long advised women considering breast implants that they shouldnt expect them to last a lifetime, and should assume theyll need additional surgeries at some point because of well-known complications like capsular contracture and implant rupture. But there are also two serious risks that recently started to receive more attention from health authorities, doctors, and the media because of new research and because women who were affected are speaking out.
Recommended Reading: Can Stage 3 Breast Cancer Be Cured
What Should You Do Then
Know what to look for, keep an eye on your implants, and try your absolute best not to freak out.
All patients with breast implantsregardless of surface texture or brandshould familiarize themselves with the symptoms of BIA-ALCL, monitor for changes in the look or feel around their breast implants, and discuss any concerns that they may have with their health care professional, an FDA spokesperson tells SELF. The agency also advises keeping a record of your implant model name and manufacturer .
As critical as it is for anyone with implants to be aware of BIA-ALCL, Itâs also important for people to be reassured that this is an extremely uncommon disease, and highly treatable when it does occur, Dr. Clemens adds.
And for anyone considering implants who is scared off by this recall? The good news is that the products clearly linked with this disease are off the market. As for other kinds of textured implantswhich, again, are already very rare in the United Statesthe tiny but real risk of developing BIA-ALCL may well factor into that decision.
Going forward, this will definitely be an important part of the conversation have with their surgeons when deciding what type of implants to get, Dr. Clemens says.
Know The Risks Of Breast Implants
FDA-approved implants undergo extensive testing before approval to demonstrate reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. Still, there are risks associated with all breast implants, including:
- Additional surgeries
- Rupture of saline and silicone gel-filled implants
- Deflation of saline-filled implants
- Silent rupture of silicone gel-filled implants
The silicone used for breast implants is different than injectable silicone. Injectable silicone is not FDA-approved for breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, or for body contouring.
You May Like: Stage 2 3 Breast Cancer
Is It Worth It To Get Breast Implants
Most women find it a major step, and it often results in positive results. Breast implants have been shown to boost self-esteem, body image, and sexual satisfaction in studies. However, studies have also shown that women should be screened carefully by doctors and self-aware before breast implant surgery, as well.
What Should You Do If You Have Implants
Talk to your doctor. Most experts donât recommend removing textured implants just because of their link to ALCL. But if you do have textured implants and youâre concerned, talk with your doctor.
Itâs important to watch for the signs of ALCL. It can show up anywhere in your body. But most women with breast implants get it near scar tissue where their implants are.
Check your breasts regularly for:
- New swelling
- Lumps or other changes in the shape of your breast
- Pain in or near your breast thatâs regular or constant
- A skin rash near your breast
- Hardening in your breast or new scar tissue
Also look for:
These can be signs that you have ALCL. But they can also be signs of other things, like a ruptured implant. Thatâs why itâs important to see your doctor right away if you notice changes in your breasts.
ALCL is usually curable, especially when itâs found early. To find out if you have ALCL, a doctor will do a needle biopsy and an imaging test, such as an ultrasound or mammogram. Early treatment usually involves removing the implant and any tissue that has cancer.
Mayo Clinic: âIs There Any Connection Between Breast Implants and Cancer? And If So, How Serious is the Risk?â âNon-Hodgkinâs Lymphoma.â
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: âWomen: Breast implants and Cancer Risk,â âImplant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.â
Recommended Reading: Breast Cancer Stage 4 Survival Rates
How Will These New Rules Likely Impact Patients
Women considering breast reconstructive surgery using implants at MSK are routinely informed of the risks and the benefits of breast implants. Our patients are also presented with the other options reconstruction with their own tissues or external prosthesis, for example that may be suitable. At MSK, we take pride in providing individualized treatment plans for each patient. Our doctors and nurses clearly explain the pros and cons of each procedure, empowering our patients to make the best possible choices for themselves.
Breast Implants And Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
Dr. Jones: So what did the FDA identify as a possible association between breast implants and a rare non-breast cancer?
Dr. Agarwal: Over the past decade and a half, the FDA, the medical societies, and doctors in general have been paying very close attention to the outcomes of their patients that have had breast implants placed. And so, over the past number of years, we found that there is a very small but significant incidence of a rare lymphoma, and it appears that it’s associated with a specific type of breast implant, whether they’re placed for reconstructive purposes or cosmetic reasons. And that’s ALCL, an anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Dr. Jones: That’s a new one to me.
Dr. Agarwal: Yeah. Most people haven’t heard it.
Dr. Jones: Right. Very rare.
Dr. Agarwal: And it’s not a breast cancer as we think of breast cancers. It is a lymphoma. It’s typically found in the capsule, the scar tissue that surrounds a breast implant. But again, I want to emphasize that it’s exceedingly rare.
Dr. Jones: If there’s an increased risk, what kind of numbers are we talking about?
Dr. Agarwal: We’re talking about really low risk. It appears that patients with breast implants have about a one in 3,800 to one in 30,000 risk of developing this type of lymphoma. To put that in a broader context, you can think that the average woman in the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer.
Dr. Jones: In their lifetime, yeah.
Dr. Agarwal: That’s correct.
Recommended Reading: Risk Of Breast Cancer Recurrence After Lumpectomy
What Is The Treatment And Prognosis For Breast Implant Associated Cancer
It is usual that care is provided by a multi-disciplinary team. A treatment plan may be developed with advice from a blood disease specialist with experience in lymphoma, a cancer specialist, and a surgeon with breast implant experience.
In about 80% of cases, the disease is detected in the early stage, with cancer cells found only in the fluid surrounding the implant. Most of these cases are cured by removal of the implant and surrounding capsule. Over the last 10 years, four Australian women have died from breast implant-associated lymphoma.
Usually, both implants are removed even if breast implant-associated ALCL has only occurred in one breast. This is because there is a small but real risk that breast implant-associated ALCL can develop in the opposite breast. If there is a solid lump or the cancer has spread, the patient may require additional treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or additional surgery. Follow up monitoring may require additional CT scans.
Do Women With Breast Implants Have A Higher Risk Of Cancer
300,000 breast implant surgeries are performed each year in the United States. Though not a form of cancer in the traditional sense, ALCL has been associated with a specific type of breast implant. Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones talks to Dr. Jay Agarwal, chief of plastic surgery at Huntsman Cancer Insitute, about which type of breast implant is most likely to be presented with the signs and symptoms of ALCL.
May 30, 2019
Dr. Jones: Do women with breast implants have a higher risk of cancer? What cancer? What’s the risk and what should we know?
Announcer: Covering all aspects of women’s health, this is The Seven Domains of Women’s Health with Dr. Kirtly Jones on The Scope.
Dr. Jones: There are about 300,000 breast implant surgeries performed every year in the U.S. Now, there are a number of reasons for breast implant surgery, but all people requesting breast implant surgery have concerns about risks and side effects. There’s a new concern about a very rare cancer that might be more common in women with breast implants.
And today in The Scope studio, we’re talking with Dr. Jay Agarwal, who is chief of Plastic Surgery at the University of Utah. He’s a plastic surgeon at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, who specializes in breast reconstructive surgery, and he’s going to help us think about this risk.
Welcome back to The Scope, Dr. Agarwal.
Dr. Agarwal: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
You May Like: Breast Cancer Weight Gain Symptom
What Is Msks Recommendation For The Removal Of Textured Breast Implants
There is no scientific evidence that removing a textured device eliminates the risk of BIA-ALCL. However, some women may choose to remove their textured implant with or without the scar around it to minimize the concern regarding this risk.
Neither the FDA, nor the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nor the American College of Surgeons recommends that women remove their Allergan textured breast implants.
How Rare Is Breast Implant
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a very rare cancer. Most experts say that the chance of getting it are very low even if you do have implants. That being said, it seems that women who have undergone reconstructive surgery and have textured tissue expanders have a higher chance of getting ALCL. That being said, BIA ALCL is so far only associated with textured implants there havent been reports on smooth implants causing this rare form of cancer.
You May Like: Mbc Metastatic Breast Cancer
Have You Developed Symptoms
The most common symptoms are unexplained breast enlargement, asymmetry, fluid buildup or a lump in the breast or armpit, but may be rarely more subtle such as overlying skin rash, hardening of the breast. Women who develop these symptoms should see their physician to be evaluated with a physical exam and further testing.
The Truth About Breast Implant
May 31, 2017
New York TimesThis does not mean the breast cancer comes back
- BIA-ALCL is rare. One in 30,000 women with textured-surface breast implants may develop it. The FDA has reported 359 cases of BIA-ALCL in the United States as of February 1, 2017, and nine women have died from the disease.
- Breast implants are safe. In fact, theyre among the most-studied devices in medicine. BIA-ALCL appears to be associated with textured-surface breast implants only, which account for a small number of implants.
- Getting breast implants is a personal choice. If you choose to do it, well make sure you are well-informed of the benefits, risks, and available options.
Though BIA-ALCL is rare, its important that women familiarize themselves with the symptoms, how we diagnose and treat the disease, and the health follow-up guidelines we recommend if you choose to get breast implants after breast cancer surgery.
Also Check: Breast Cancer Curable
Getting Help With Breast Implant Cancer And Illness
Finding help with breast cancer and illness is very important.
The good news is that many people are working hard to find the most effective ways of helping people who suffer from this life-changing illness.
Unfortunately, a lot of people go through a difficult time with breast implant surgery.
And then they feel embarrassed and ashamed because they donât look in the mirror every day to see how well their breasts look.
This is not an option, and a person has to look in the mirror every day, no matter what.
Most women have heard of cancer, and how it can be treated, but many people are still scared to talk about this topic with their doctors.
It is important to do this because it will make them feel better.
There is no such thing as a cure for cancer, but there are plenty of ways to fight the disease and keep it from spreading.
Most people who have survived cancer have gotten through it by using the right information and having a strong determination to beat it.
There are plenty of different options available for people who have cancer.
If someone has cancer, they need to learn about all of their options so that they can make the right choice for their needs.
There are several different treatments available, and people should explore all of their options so they can get the best treatment possible.
A common treatment for people who have breast implant surgery is cryotherapy.
In this treatment, the doctor will freeze off the cancerous cells so they cannot grow.