FDA looking into possible link between breast implants and rare cancer

Feb 07, 2011

Possible link between rare cancer and implants under investigation

An uncommon type of breast cancer, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, is the subject of an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, which said there may be a possible connection between the disease and breast implants.

Both saline and silicone-based prostheses are implicated in the FDA's statement, and Dr. William Maisel, the head of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said more data was needed.

"We are working with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and other experts in the field to establish a breast implant patient registry, which should help us better understand the development of ALCL in women with breast implants," he said.

The risk, if it is there, appears to be minimal - the FDA said out of the between 5 million and 10 million women around the world with breast implants, only 60 or so have been diagnosed with the disease.

Nevertheless, experts warn, the FDA's research could result in higher life insurance premiums for women with implants, if a connection is found.

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