According to a new study, women who have breast implants are at risk of getting anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare type of blood cancer.
Ever since 2006, breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure done in the United States. In 84% of the cases, silicone implants were used, in favor of saline, which is chosen in only 16% of the cases. But, aside from the usual risks connected with plastic surgery, such as recovery complications, women who had breast implants have another thing to worry about: getting cancer.
Although the risk is relatively small, a study published in the JAMA Oncology journal indicates that getting breast implants increases your chances of developing an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This type of cancer is called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, BIA-ALCL for short, and it is very slow growing: most of the patients didn’t have any symptoms for years. In the study, cancer developed a median of 13 years after the procedure.
This type of lymphoma forms in a capsule of tissue and fluid that forms around the implant, and, although the real cause remains unknown, scientists suspect it’s because of the body’s immune response to the foreign object (implant). What they managed to determine, though, is that a particular type of implant is more likely to cause cancer than any other.
Approximately 15 years ago, textured silicone implants were introduced to the market as an alternative to standard smooth ones: the rough texture of the implant made it less likely to move around. Unfortunately, it now seems that the ladies who opted for this type of silicone implants are more likely to develop ALCL.
The main problem is the potential for this issue to be completely overlooked, both because the cancer appears so long after the surgery itself, and because its primary symptom looks like a typical side-effect to breast augmentation surgery- swelling, lump formation, and pain.
In case you had this type of plastic surgery, make sure to go on regular checkups and consult with your physician about preventative measures, because, with an early diagnosis, this disease is entirely curable.
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