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What is Breast Implants Cancer and Should You Be Concerned?


Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that there is a link between certain types of breast implants and the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma. This breast implants cancer (T-cell lymphoma) is an incredibly rare but aggressive type of cancer. However, lymphoma should not be confused with breast cancer. Whereas breast cancer is cancer of the tissue within the breast, lymphoma is cancer of the blood. While T-cell lymphoma is aggressive, it is slow-growing and—when caught early—most cases are curable with implant removal and chemotherapy and radiation treatments. At our Darien, CT, practice, Dr. David Passaretti can help shed light on this type of cancer when discussing your breast implant options.

A doctor shows a patient different types of breast implants.
Many of the cases of BIA-ALCL have occurred in women who have had textured breast implants. At our practice, Dr. David Passaretti offers only smooth implants. 

Signs and Symptoms of Lymphoma

According to recent studies, the FDA has received a total of 359 reports of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) as of February 1, 2017. Of those 359 reports, nine deaths have occurred as a result of BIA-ALCL. In addition, 231 reports included information on the implant surface, with 203 including textured implants and 28 as smooth implants.

Patients with late onset lymphoma may experience persistent peri-implant seroma (fluid retention around the surgical site). Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Lumps
  • Breast asymmetry

Should You Have Your Breast Implants Removed?

BIA-ALCL is much more likely to develop in women with textured implants than those with smooth-surfaced implants. At our practice, Dr. Passaretti offers only smooth-surfaced implants. Patients with existing breast implants should continue with regular checkups and should not remove their implants as a preventive measure, unless they develop any of the symptoms listed above.

Early Detection of Breast Implants Cancer

Before undergoing any form of breast implant procedure, patients should educate themselves on all the available options with their surgeon. Breast implants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and are sourced from many different providers.

BIA-ALCL is much more likely to develop in women with textured implants than those with smooth-surfaced implants. At our practice, Dr. Passaretti only offers smooth-surfaced implants.

Patients who currently have breast implants should get a routine mammography screening from a technologist specifically trained in performing this procedure on patients with breast implants. In addition, patients with silicone gel-filled breast implants should get periodic MRIs to detect ruptures, with the first MRI occurring three years after implant surgery and every two years afterwards. If you notice any changes in the shape or size of your implants followed by pain and swelling, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately to schedule an appointment.

In cases where a patient develops breast implants cancer, she should remove both the implants and capsule (scar), as well as undergo any necessary chemotherapy and radiation as directed by an oncologist. It is imperative to wait for complete healing before proceeding with additional breast augmentation. Once you have fully healed, Dr. Passaretti can discuss restoring breast volume with fat grafting.

Contact Us to Learn More

If you are experiencing pain, swelling, or any of the symptoms of BIA-ALCL, you may have breast implants cancer or be experiencing complications. It is important to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible to prevent further issues from occurring. Contact our office online today or call (203) 642-1891 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Passaretti.

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(203) 642-1891

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Darien Office

722 Post Rd
Ste 201
Darien, CT 06820

Open Today 9:00am - 5:00pm

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(203) 642-1891