FDA: Breast Implants Linked to Rare Cancer

The safety of breast implants has long been questioned, and concerns are stronger than ever now that federal health officials detected a link between breast implants and a very rare form of cancer.

In an alarming announcement, the Food and Drug Administration announced last week that it is investigating a possible connection between saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants and a cancer of the immune system known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The disease attacks the lymph nodes and skin and has been reported in scar tissue which grows around the implant. The agency recently learned of more than 60 cases among the five to ten million women worldwide who received breast implants in the last decade.

The lymphoma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer, and curable only through harsh treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant. Women are encouraged to monitor their implants for unusual symptoms such as pain, lumps, or swelling around the surgical site. Information about the possible link to cancer will be added to the labeling information sent out with implants and the FDA requests that health care officials immediately report any additional cases.

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