According to Live Science, a new Netherlands study shows that women who get breast implants are more likely to develop a rare cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, also known as ALCL, as opposed to women who don’t. While the risks still remain low, researchers believe that women should be informed of the likeliness for development of such cancer.
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma is not a breast cancer, but is a cancer that affects one’s immune system and is a type of lymphoma. With breast implant patients, the cancer is usually present in the scar tissue that has been developed around the implant. ALCL is known to affect about 1 in 35,000 women with breast implants at the age of 50, 1 in every 12,000 at the age of 70 and 1 in every 7,000 at the age of 75. It’s been known for some time that ALCL and breast implants have history, yet there has never been enough specific research to fully support the claim.
More recently though, rather than look at the large numbers of patients with ALCL both with implants and without, researchers are taking a reverse approach. They’ve begun to start looking at women with ALCL and she how many out of those women have had breast implants prior to development of the cancer. In the study they conducted, out of the 42 ALCL patients, 32 of the women previously had breast implants. To put things more into perspective, 1 out of every 146 women with any type of lymphoma, previously had breast implants. This means that ALCL is 421 times more commonly developed in those with breast implants.
When researchers looked at the results from this angle, it is clear that a correlation exists. Symptoms of this cancer often develop slowly over time even if still rare. Researchers now strongly suggest informing potential breast implant patients of the risk of potentially developing a harmful cancer specifically from the procedure.