Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a data analysis found a possible connection between saline and silicone breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a type of cancer.
The FDA’s findings are based upon a review of scientific literature published between January 1997 and May 2010, as well as information from international scientists, regulators and manufacturers of breast implants. The review detected 34 unique ALCL cases in women with both silicone and saline breast implants; and suggested that women with breast implants could have a small but considerable risk of ALCL in the scar capsule that is adjacent to the breast implant. The FDA is aware of approximately 60 instances worldwide of ALCL occurring in women with breast implants. Between 5 and 10 million women have breast implants in the world.
ALCL can appear in different parts of the body, typically a person’s skin and lymph nodes, according to the National Cancer Institute. Every year, ALCL is diagnosed in roughly one out of 500,000 women in the U.S. and in just 3 of every 100 million women in the country who do not have breast implants.
Most cases of ALCL the FDA reviewed were identified after a patient sought medical attention for implant-related symptoms including breast asymmetry, lumps, pain or swelling that manifested after their surgical sites were healed fully. The symptoms were because of the gathering of fluid, masses surrounding the implant or the hardening of the breast area around the implant.
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