I’m Worried About My Breast Implants Causing Cancer. What Should I Do?
Breast implants and their link to cancer have been making news headlines. According to the FDA, Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare and treatable cancer of the immune system (not a true breast cancer) associated with textured breast implants.
Understandably, we have been getting many inquiries from implant patients fearful of developing BIA-ALCL. To help, we have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions with answers.
What are the symptoms of BIA-ALCL?
- Fluid collection around the implant (known as a ‘seroma’)
- Sudden breast enlargement
- New lump(s) in the breast and/or armpit
- Skin rash on the breast
- Breast pain
- Breast hardening
When should patients see a doctor?
Women should continue routine follow-ups as recommended by their surgeon.
Patients who have any of the above-mentioned symptoms should see their surgeon as soon as possible for an evaluation and possible testing. Currently, the FDA is not recommending any BIA-ALCL screening for patients with textured implants.
Should implants be removed prophylactically?
The FDA does not recommend removing breast implants in patients who are not experiencing complications or symptoms. Ultimately of course, we understand this is a very personal decision. For those wanting/needing to removal their implants, explant surgery is an option.
What are the alternatives to breast implants?
For patients seeking breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, implants are not the only option! “Flap” procedures use patients own living tissue to reconstruct a warm, soft, natural breast. In fact, the DIEP flap is considered today’s ‘gold standard’ for reconstruction and is the preferred reconstructive technique at PRMA.
Breast augmentation using breast implants is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in the US to date. For patients looking for an enhanced look without the use of an implant, fat grafting may be a good alternative option.
Author: Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo and Courtney Floyd
The FDA does not recommend removing breast implants in patients who are not experiencing complications or symptoms. Ultimately of course, we understand this is a very personal decision.