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Breast implants could trigger skin cancers, FDA warns

Breast Implants Can Cause Skin Cancer! FDA issues safety warning over breast enhancement devices after finding fewer than 50 cases

  • Food and Drug Administration Issues Safety Warning About Potential Skin Cancer Risk from Breast Implants
  • It said that although rare, several cases of skin cancer and a type of immune system cancer had been confirmed in scar tissue that forms around implants.
  • Research is now underway to determine whether implants can cause the cancers
  • Breast implants have already been linked to another cancer of the immune system, although it’s rare. The cancer is called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that breast implants can cause skin cancer and other cancers in the immune system.

In a safety alert issued Thursday, it said that although “rare,” several confirmed cases of squamous cell carcinomas – a type of skin cancer – and lymphomas in the scar tissue surrounding implants.

They are now investigating whether implants can cause these cancers, telling doctors and patients to watch for symptoms such as swelling, lumps and changes to their skin. Breast implants have already been linked to a cancer of the immune system, although the risk is low.

It’s because the devices are becoming more and more popular, with research showing that more than three-quarters of plastic surgeons in America are now facing increased demand. Nearly a quarter say their sales have doubled.

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In its warning, the FDA said the cancers were not the same as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma — a cancer already known to be caused by implants.

It added that doctors and patients should be “aware” of the risk that other cancers could also be caused by the implants.

Fewer than 20 cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have been detected in the skin around implants so far, it said. There have also been fewer than 30 cases of various lymphomas in the skin around the implants.

What should I do if I have breast implants?

The FDA said people with breast implants should do the following.

  • Keep in mind that other cancers have now been reported in scar tissue around breast implants;
  • Keep an eye on your implant while you have it and contact your doctor if you notice any abnormal changes;
  • Implants should not be removed because of the cancer warning;
  • Anyone who has problems with their implant should also report it to the FDA.

The FDA added that it had received 10 medical reports from SCC related to breast cancer and 12 related to lymphoma.

In some cases, patients had the implants for years before they developed the disease.

Warning signs were swelling, pain, lumps and skin changes.

The cases were revealed during a standard review of cancer reports in people with breast implants submitted to the FDA.

More than a decade ago, the FDA was the first to warn of a possible link between textured implants and a rare cancer.

It eventually led to drug company Allergan issuing a global recall of textured breast implants linked to the cancer.

But the FDA stopped banning the implants, noting that some women with the cancers had been given slippery implants.

The cases of cancer are rare, with about one in 3,000 to one in 30,000 women getting the implants to develop it.

Efforts have also been made to educate patients about the health risks of getting a breast implant.

New labeling was introduced last year, along with a patient checklist to inform people that the implants are not medical devices that will not last a lifetime.

Doctors should guide patients through the health concerns to give them the opportunity to withdraw from the procedure.

It comes after a survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed last month that most are seeing a spike in demand.

It’s likely driven by Americans who are more willing to spend money on the procedures they said, probably because most of them were saved during the COVID pandemic. The work-from-home culture may also provide much more time to recover from procedures without losing revenue, the survey found.

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