One of the cornerstones of my practice is to ensure my patients are fully educated on the options available and the choices they make. I go to great lengths to provide information in person and on my website to achieve this goal. It is because of my wish for you and all my patients to be fully informed that I am posting this.
On March 21, the New York Times, and a few other media sources, reported on a rare form of lymphoma that has been linked to breast implants. The disease is termed Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) and a recent report by the FDA presents the data about this rare form of cancer. For many of our patients, this has created anxiety regarding their breast implants. In an effort to help with this, we would like to outline the facts of this report and the current recommendations surrounding these findings.
While 359 cases of BIA-ALCL have been reported, it is important to note that the data is still incomplete and details are missing. Therefore, these results can be misleading if taken at face value. You should also be aware that this is still considered a very rare disease. The majority of the cases reported were associated with textured silicone implants at a rate of approximately 1 in 30,000 women (or 0.003% lifetime risk). The most common presentation of the disease is the formation of a delayed seroma, or excessive collection of fluid around the breast. When presented, this would require a surgical revision. The reports show the average time until diagnosis after implant placement is 7 years.
The current FDA recommendation is to continue standard surveillance of the implants. As this form of lymphoma is very rare, there is no need to prophylactically remove your implants. If you have experienced changes in your implants that are alarming, then you should be seen for a physical exam and potentially imaged.
It is important to note that BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer but a rare and treatable T-cell Lymphoma. In the event that a BIA-ALCL occurs, the treatment is typically removal of the implant and the capsule. In some situations, chemotherapy and/or radiation have been utilized.
If you have questions or would like to discuss this, please call our office at (214) 645-2353 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Haddock.