Plastic surgeons under fire for playing down cancer risk for implant patients

Mar 10, 2011

Plastic surgeons taking heat

The news that the FDA is investigating a possible link between a rare type of breast cancer and cosmetic implants made relatively little splash, but one consumer advocacy group has slammed plastic surgeons for minimizing the risk involved to potential patients.

Public Citizen Health Research Group director Dr. Sidney Wolfe said the claims used by two major plastic surgery organizations were misleading.

"For most patients, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy will be part of the recommended treatment plan. And for the organizations to refer to this cancer as 'benign' or as a 'condition' misleads both patients who may have received breast implant or those who may be considering undergoing breast implant surgery and the physicians who may provide care to such patients," he said.

The group asked the FDA to clamp down on plastic surgery groups making these claims about the cancer in question, known as anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.

Consumers considering implant surgery should bear the new information in mind, since it could affect health and life insurance rates, experts say.

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