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Cancer from Breast Implants May Be Caused By Several Conditions: Study

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Amid increasing concerns about the risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) from certain breast implants, new research indicates that there may be multiple reasons that some women are diagnosed with sarcoma in the tissue surrounding the implant.

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma that has been diagnosed among hundreds of women with textured breast implants in recent years, but the medical community is still working to understand the causes and risks women may face.

In a study published last month in the medical journal Cytopathology, researchers looked at eight cases involving the breast implant seroma, evaluating data from files at Luigi Vanvitelli University from January to December 2017.

Researchers found that upon closer examination, only one of the cases actually involved a diagnosis of BIA-ALCL under microscopic examination. Six of the other cases were aspecific inflammatory reactions, and one was a reaction associated to the silicon used in the implant.

“Peri-implant breast seroma may be caused by several pathological conditions with different clinical behavior,” the researchers concluded. “A proper cytological approach to peri-implant breast seroma allows a correct differential diagnosis between inflammatory conditions and breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma and an appropriate management of the patient.”

The study came just a couple weeks after the FDA issued an update for consumers regarding the agency’s ongoing investigation in the link between breast implants and lymphoma.

The statement included additional information on the number of diagnosed breast implant cancer cases that have now been confirmed based on adverse event data and case reports published in medical literature, indicating that there are at least 414 women impacted. The agency now estimates that the rare cancer may develop in as many as one out of every 3,817 women who receive textured breast implants.

The agency first issued warnings about the breast implant lymphoma rates last year, and a number of subsequent studies have confirmed that the cancer risk is real, and appears to be linked specifically to the use of certain textured breast implants with larger surface areas.

In June 2017, a study published in the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery suggested that certain textured breast implants may increase the risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma anywhere from 10 to 14 times, when compared to smooth breast implants.

In October 2017, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery warned that many breast implant cancer cases worldwide have likely not been reported, and noted that doctors and patients may not be aware of BIA-ALCL. As more information becomes public about the breast implant cancer cases, experts have warned that the number of cases reported will likely increase significantly.

As regulators and researchers worldwide continue to evaluate the specific cause of the breast implant lymphoma problems, many women are raising serious questions about why certain products appear to be more likely to be associated with the development of cancer, and how manufacturers failed to address potential design defects earlier.

Product liability lawyers in the U.S. are now reviewing potential textured breast implant lawsuits for women diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), which develops in the tissue surrounding the breast.

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