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FDA Links Rare Blood Cancer, 9 Deaths to Breast Implants


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received nine reports of death stemming from a rare blood cancer that is associated with breast implants.

About Breast Implant-Related Cancer

While rare, the FDA has confirmed that women with breast implants do have an increased risk of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma – a cancer which affects cells in the immune system.

Though the cancer can be found in the skin and lymph nodes around the breast implant, it is not a type of breast cancer.

As of February 1, the FDA had received 359 reports of possible breast implant-associated cancer cases, including nine reports of breast implant-associated cancer deaths.

Based on its new findings, the FDA has issued a safety update urging doctors to be vigilant in their support and care of breast implant recipients. Further, the FDA has requested that healthcare providers provide manufacturers’ labels and educational materials to patients prior to surgery.

Possibility of Breast Implant-Related Cancer Raised in 2011

The FDA first commented on the possibility of breast implant-related cancers in 2011. The agency began reaching out to doctors and healthcare providers, asking whether they noticed changes in breast implant patients such as hardening or masses around their implants or other cancer symptoms.

The FDA has determined that of the 231 reports which contained information about the type of breast implant used, 203 involved implants with textured surfaces.

The FDA notes that most cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma are slow to grow and spread and are treatable if detected in a timely manner. As such, people with breast implants should be proactive in monitoring their implants for any changes and should receive routine screenings.

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