The constructive and augmented breast implants are in use for almost 55 years. According to the FDA, elective breast augmentation is one of the most common plastic surgery. However, the studies have proved that breast cancer risk is not higher among women who have breast implants than those who don’t.  However, in 2009 the medical authorities noticed a rare type of cancer called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) occurred in the patients with breast implants but with minimal risk. Furthermore, In 2017, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report stating a slight but increased association between anaplastic large-cell lymphoma and breast implants.  The FDA experts noticed several cases of this type of lymphoma since 2011. By 2017, the FDA identified 495 cases and nine deaths associated with ALCL. Each year more than 300,000 implant surgeries occur in America, making the risk very minimal about 1 in 3800 at the most and 1 in 30,000 at the least. Most of the patients who developed lymphoma (cancer) had a gummy bear or textured implants (mostly used in reconstructive implant surgeries). The treatment involves the removal of the implant and rarely require chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Lymphoma Formation

ALCL is a rare type of T-cell lymphoma surrounding the scar tissue and fluid of capsule. When an implant is placed, a biofilm (a layer of microorganisms such as bacteria) develops and surrounds it, leading to the formation of carcinogens, which later leads to lymphoma.

Sign and Symptoms

The symptoms appear around 7 to 10 years after the implant. However, in a few patients, the symptoms might develop earlier after the three years of implant. The signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Uneven breast size
  • A lump of mass
  • Hardened scar tissue
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Rashes

Risk Factors

Due to the lack of research, the risk factors that aggregate the chances of developing lymphoma in females are uncertain. The risk factors could be family history, autoimmune disorders, allergies, fibromyalgia, and bowel syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If the patient feels any of the above symptoms, they need to get diagnosed immediately. The physicians make the diagnosis through the mammogram, ultrasound, fluid tests, and MRI. The treatments involve the removal of an implant and Capsulectomy. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are performed in rare and complicated cases. ALCL is not a breast cancer rather immunity-related cancer. It is treatable in more than 90% of the patients. The treatment usually involves the removal of the implant in every 9 out of 10 people.  Women who have implants or plan on having an implant the main takeaway message for them are to consult with their board-certified plastic surgeon about the type, size, shape, risks, and benefits of the implant. The plastic surgeons have been conducting breast augmentation regularly; they can provide the best possible and updated knowledge relating implants’ risk factors such as lymphoma. Nonetheless, if someone is asymptomatic, there’s no need to be alarmed as awareness is beneficial, but it should not be troublesome. Hence, in a nutshell, discuss all the doubts with your consultant to get the expert’s opinion.