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Breast Implants May Be Linked to Additional Cancers, F.D.A. Warns

They are extremely rare, he added, and the new warning should not be a cause for widespread alarm. The realization that ALCL was related to breast implants had already “allowed us to be more aware that other things could be happening in that area,” said Dr. Clement.

“If ALCL is unusual, these are very rare,” he added. It has long been known that scar tissue, such as that from breast implant surgery, can yield squamous cell carcinoma, added Dr. Clemens to it.

“A wound that tries to heal, and tries to heal for a long time, can develop into these things,” he said. But the exact nature of the relationship between the implant and the cancer, and whether the implant causes the cancer, is not yet clear, he said.

In a typical year, about 400,000 women in the United States receive breast implants, 300,000 for cosmetic reasons, and 100,000 for reconstruction after mastectomy performed to treat or prevent breast cancer.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the numbers dropped significantly during the first year of the pandemic.

Last year, the FDA placed so-called black-box labels on breast implants, warning that they had been linked to a host of chronic medical conditions, including autoimmune disorders, joint pain, mental confusion, muscle aches and chronic fatigue, as well as lymphoma.