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Australian health officials report that at least three women have died and dozens have been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer linked to breast implants, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
On April 20, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued an update on the number of breast implant cancer cases identified in the country, indicating that at least 51 women diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) following breast augmentation have been identified, including at least five new cases reported in the last four months.
The breast implant ALCL cases date back to 2011, and came after the agency began closely monitoring for the cancer amid increasing concerns in recent years.
The TGA also announced that an epidemiological study of Australian and New Zealand patients has been accepted by the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical Journal, and should be published in an upcoming edition.
The agency has been working with the FDA in the United States, which issued a breast implant ALCL cancer statement in March, indicating that it has received at least 359 medical device reports involving women diagnosed with the rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The FDA reported that it found at least nine deaths associated with breast implant-related ALCL.
The World Health Organization has also highlighted the potential artificial breast implant cancer risk.
The FDA first issued a statement about the link between breast implants and ALCL in January 2011, indicating that the agency was aware of at least 60 cases worldwide at the time.
The agency indicated that the problems have been linked to both saline and silicone breast implants.
As of February 1, the FDA noted that it has received 359 medical device reports of the breast implant cancer, including nine deaths. The agency received data on the breast implant surface in 231 of the reports, and 203 of those involved the use of implants with textured surfaces, while only 28 of those cases were linked to implants with smooth surfaces.
Due to the potential lymphoma risk with breast implants, regulators have made efforts to increase awareness among health care providers about cases of the rare cancer linked to textured breast implants, indicating that they should discuss the benefits and side effects of the implants with their patients.
The FDA has also recommended that doctors consider the possibility that a breast implant recipient is suffering from anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) when they present with late, onset, persistent peri-implant seroma.
Patients are advised to be aware of the cancer problems with breast implants, talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of textured versus smooth breast implants and to continue with routine medical care and follow-ups.
In the United States, the FDA is calling on both doctors and patients to report any cases of ALCL in women with breast implants to its MedWatch adverse event reporting program.