Breast Implants Linked to Rare, Treatable Cancer

Slight increase seen in women with implants of all kinds

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 27, 2011 4:31 PM CST

(Newser) – Breast implants have been linked to an extremely rare but treatable cancer, the New York Times reports. It's called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, and in these cases, it usually forms in the scar tissue around the implant. The link was seen in saline and silicone implants, and in both reconstructive implants for breast cancer sufferers and in cosmetic surgeries. The good news: Only about 60 cases have been reported worldwide—out of 5 million to 10 million women with implants.

Given the rarity of the condition, the FDA said implants are still safe, though women considering them should factor it into their decision. One manufacturer of implants said "a woman is more likely to be struck by lightning than get this condition.” Most women diagnosed reported symptoms—including lumps, fluid buildup, pain, and swelling—long after they had healed from surgery. (Click for other health risks associated with implants.)

In this Dec. 11, 2006 file photo, a silicone gel breast implant is shown at Mentor Corp., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Irving, Texas.
In this Dec. 11, 2006 file photo, a silicone gel breast implant is shown at Mentor Corp., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Irving, Texas.   (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam, file)
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