Cancer linked to implants may be underreported

Hershey, Dauphin County, Pa - Penn State researchers say  a rare cancer in patients with breast implants may be very under-reported.

The particular type of lymphoma appears to be linked with textured implants, but doctors  at the  Penn State College of Medicine say more study  is needed to identify the specific cause.

"We're seeing that this cancer is likely very underreported, and as more information on this type of cancer comes to light, the number of cases is likely to increase in the coming years," said Dr. Dino Ravnic, assistant professor of surgery at Penn State College of Medicine. "We're still exploring the exact causes, but according to current knowledge, this cancer only really started to appear after textured implants came on the market in the 1990s."

"All manufacturers of textured implants have had cases linked to this type of lymphoma, and we haven't seen cases linked to smooth implants," Ravnic said. "But in many of these cases the implant was removed without testing the surrounding fluid and tissue for lymphoma cells, so it's difficult to definitively correlate the two."

The researchers believe that BIA-ALCL may occur as a result of inflammation surrounding the breast implant, and tissue that grows into the tiny holes in the textured implant may prolong that inflammation. Previous research has shown that chronic inflammation can lead to lymphoma.

They say surgeons should inform patients of the risks of the cancer and stress the importance of routine checkups after they're in place.


 


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