The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted women on the risk associated with breast implants. In a report released by FDA on Wednesday, women with breast implants are at increased risk of developing an unusual type of cancer on the immune system.
According to FDA’s Dr. Binita Ashar, there are approximately 457 women diagnosed with breast implant-associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) up from 414 cases based on its last report. There have been more than 600 cases of BIA-ACLC recorded globally in which 16 women have died, nine coming from the U.S, Dr. Ashar added.
BIA ALCL is not breast cancer. Based on an article published by LiveScience, it is a type of lymphoma which is a cancer of the immune system cells. Once the said cancer occurs in women who have breast implants, it will typically appear in the scar tissue around the implant. How these implants can cause the mentioned disease is still unknown. But it’s possible that chronic inflammation around the breast prompted by the implant itself or bacteria that is in the surface of the implant generally play a role.
The thing is, the day before French regulators will meet to discuss the safety of textured implants, which are commonly used in cosmetics and reconstructive purposes, reports about its risk already came out. Most of the ALCL cases have a link to the said textured devices. In December, France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) urged Allergan, a pharmaceutical company which manufactures a wide range of breast implants, to revoke its production of textured implants after the agency took the safety approval.
Following the cancellation of Allergan’s safety licenses, NBC news investigated Allergan’s textured implants, together with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). They found out that ALCL may endanger women’s lives and have safety issues.
The FDA, knowing its critical role on the health of women, initially informed the subjects on the associated risk from textured breast implants in 2011. Today it made an announcement that they are sending letters to doctors, primary care physicians and gynecologists indicating to dig in more on ACLC so they can perform the diagnosis and treatment well to those who are affected.
ALCL patients acknowledged the effort of DFA to inform physicians better. For Michelle Forney, an ACLC patient and a mother of two said that the letters sent to health care providers are helpful. Often patients like Michelle are mistreated for mastitis, shingles and or other conditions. She also said that this disease, which is considered ‘rare’ last year now becomes a major setback to women who desire to have an implant. And just recently, one of the iconic judges of RuPaul’s Drag Race Michelle Visage decided to remove her breast implants which, according to her, made her ill.
With the risk linked to breast implants, it is also vital that women who consider having an aesthetic operation be made aware of the symptoms of ACLC which include persistent swelling or pain surrounding the implanted area. Aside from informing physicians and doctors, the FDA should also meet to review the safety regulations of all breast implants.