FDA Warns Public About Cancers Linked to Breast Implants

FDA Warns Public About Cancers Linked to Breast Implants

The FDA issued a warning to inform the public about reports regarding certain forms that can form in the scar tissue surrounding breast implants. However, the agency specified that these cancers differ from previous communications concerning Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This discovery comes as the FDA continues to monitor and assess the safety of breast implants on the market.

FDA Receives Growing Reports of Cancer in Breast Implant Patients

According to the FDA, as of September 1, 2022, the agency has received 10 reports of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a form of skin cancer, and 12 reports of various lymphomas related to breast implants. These medical device reports allow the agency to track the safety of medical devices like breast implants. Since 2011 the FDA has collected and analyzed data on BIA-ALCL, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This most recent advisory aims to warn the public about other types of cancer found in breast implant patients aside from BIA-ALCL. Like SCC and the other newly identified lymphomas, BIA-ALCL begins in the scar tissue that forms around the breast implant. 

Who Is At Risk?

The FDA stated that it is unsure as to the exact incident rate and risk factor of SCC and lymphomas in the scar tissue of breast implant patients. While BIA-ALCL is more prevalent in textured implants, the FDA revealed that SCC and various lymphomas have affected those with smooth and textured implants. Smooth implants act like natural breast tissue because the shells move under the skin. Meanwhile, in textured implants, the tissue grows into the shell and holds it in place. Additionally, the FDA gathered reports of SCC and various lymphomas in people with silicone and saline implants. Furthermore, the agency noted that breast implant patients were diagnosed with cancer after having the implants for years. 

What Should Breast Implant Patients Do?

Patients should look out for previously reported signs and symptoms, including swelling, pain, lumps, or skin changes. At this time, the FDA states that those with breast implants do not need to alter their current medical routine or follow-up schedule. However, individuals should immediately consult a doctor if they notice any changes in their breasts or implants. The warning stresses the importance of routine visits, and breast implant patients should file a report through the agency’s MedWatch program if they do develop SCC or various lymphomas.