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Registry established over concerns of lymphoma from breast implants

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Breast implants

The small number of rare lymphoma cases reported in women receiving breast implants has prompted The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) to set up a national registry in cooperation with the FDA.

A small number of lymphoma cases--Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)-- have been reported in women with breast implants, that is not a form of breast cancer.
Since 1989, the ASPS and FDA note there have only been 34 cases of ALCL, out of 10 million breast implants worldwide.

Phillip Haeck, MD, ASPS President, said. “We’ve been down this path before. For nearly 20 years, American women were denied access to their choice of breast implants because of false claims and unfounded science. We are determined this shouldn’t happen again."

The registry will be used to track cases of the rare lymphoma to put to rest women's concerns. ALCL appears around the scar tissue in breast implants, while other lymphomas can occur anywhere.

Haeck adds, “ASPS shares the FDA’s commitment to patient safety, but we also want to make certain this information does not raise false alarms with our patients."

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The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends women educate themselves before making a choice about breast implant surgery. Dr. Haeck says, women “should do their homework to see if it is right for them."

The ASPS also advises women with breast implants should continue their regular medical routine and checkups, including annual mammogram. Breast self-exams should be conducted regularly. If pain or swelling in the breasts occurs, contact a plastic surgeon for an examination.

Dr. Haeck says a woman with breast implants has as much of a chance of developing the rare lymphoma as she does getting hit by lightning, but the situation does need to be monitored.

The ASPS is developing the registry to track the "very small" and "very very rare" cases of lymphoma found in women with breast implants, though they say the FDA and the ASPS "believe (breast) implants are safe and effective", and one of the most well studied device in the history of medicine.

Reference: ASPS