The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned women who have breast implants or are considering having them that certain cancers can develop in the scar tissue that forms around the implants.
Los malignant tumors appear to be rarebut have been linked to implants of all kinds, including those with textured or smooth surfaces and those filled with saline or silicone.
Scientists have previously linked a rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma primarily to textured implants, whose rough exteriors presumably cause more inflammation than those of smooth implants. Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system.
La FDA confirmed that link more than a decade agobut textured implants, made by Allergan, were on the market until 2019.
The agency’s new warning drew attention to another cancer, called squamous cell carcinomaand also about other types of lymphoma that may be related to implants.
There are few documented cases. The FDA said it was aware of less than 20 cases of carcinoma and fewer than 30 cases of unexpected lymphomas in the capsule surrounding the breast implant (the capsule is the scar tissue that accumulates around the implant).
However, given the history of the implants and their widespread use, federal health officials believed that the concern was justified.
In some cases, women who had had breast implants for years were diagnosed. The symptoms were swelling, pain, lumps, and skin changes.
Although lymphomas and other cancers in the area around the implant may be rare, “health care providers and people who have or are considering breast implants They should be aware cases have been reported to the FDA and in the literature,” the FDA said.
An agency spokeswoman, Audra Harrison, noted that new cancers are a “pop up safety sign we’re seeing with implants and will report on separately from anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL),” the previously documented cancer.
But cases of lymphomas other than ALCL in women with breast implants are reported in the scientific literature for about a decadesaid Dr. Mark Clemens, professor of plastic surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Avoid the alarm
They are rare, he added, and the new warning should not be a cause for widespread alarm.
The finding that ALCL is linked to breast implants has already “allowed us to be more aware that other things could happen in that area,” Clemens said.
“If ALCL is rare, these are very rare,” he added. It’s long been known that scar tissue, as a result of breast implant surgery, can lead to squamous cell carcinoma, Clemens explained.
“A wound trying to heal, and trying to heal for a long time, can turn into those things,” he said.
But the precise nature of the relationship between the implant and the cancer, and whether it is the implant that causes the cancer, not yet clearsaid.
In a typical year, about 400,000 women get breast implants in the United States, 300,000 for cosmetic reasons and 100,000 for reconstruction after mastectomies performed to treat or prevent breast cancer.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the numbers dropped considerably during the first year of the pandemic.
Last year, the FDA placed so-called black box labels in breast implants, noting that they had been linked to a number of chronic medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases, joint pain, brain fog, muscle pain and chronic fatigue, as well as lymphoma.
Among those most at risk of developing later illnesses are breast cancer patients who have undergone or are planning to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments and who represent a large percentage of women who are encouraged to undergo breast reconstruction with implants.
Las smokers and women with lupus or diabetes are also at higher risk for complications, according to the FDA.
One third of women who undergo breast implants will experience pain, tenderness, or loss of sensation in the chest, or asymmetry.
Half will experience painful tightening of scar tissue around the implant and one-third will have implants that rupture or leak, the FDA reported.
Almost 60% will need another operation to solve implant problems.
Tip: check the implants
The FDA said that did not recommend women to remove breast implants because of the new warning.
But the agency advises women to monitor their implants and see a surgeon or health care provider. if you notice any abnormal changes.
Textured implants made by Allergan were recalled after being linked to them nearly 600 cancer cases and 33 deaths were attributed to the company’s devices.
© The New York Times // Translation: Elisa Carnelli
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