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While experts continue to look into the link between certain breast implants and cancer reports worldwide, Canadian health officials indicate that their country appears to have been mostly spared of incidents involving the rare type of cancer, known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which has been found to develop in the tissue surrounding breast implants for many women. However, the Canadian officials warn that the number of breast implant cancer cases in the country may still be underreported.
Health Canada issued a press release on November 24, noting that only five confirmed cases of the rare breast implant lymphoma have been detected in the country. The cases occurred within the last 10 years, and were found by a Health Canada safety review sparked by increasing concerns over BIA-ALCL worldwide.
The agency noted that there may be more cases that have gone unreported. However, as in other reviews worldwide, nearly all of the cases found in Canada were associated with textured breast implants. Four of the five cases involved that type of breast implant, and in the remaining case, the type of implant was not reported.
“As a result of its safety review, Health Canada is working with manufacturers to update the safety information on the product labelling for all breast implants,” the press release states. “Health Canada is also communicating this important safety information to Canadians through the Recalls and Safety Alerts database on the Healthy Canadians website.”
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, researchers warned that the number of cases reported will likely increase significantly.
Earlier this year, the FDA issued warnings about breast implant lymphoma rates, indicating that the agency was aware of at least 359 medical device reports worldwide involving women diagnosed with the rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, including at least nine deaths.The early results from a new breast implant ALCL registrywere announced in October, indicating that there have been 148 distinct cases of BIA-ALCL in the U.S.
In June, another 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.
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 reviewing potential textured breast implant lawsuits for women diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), which develops in the tissue surrounding the breast.