The FDA recently identified a link between breast implants and a rare form of lymphoma. From today’s report in the New York Times: When talking to patients about a rare type of cancer linked to breast implants, plastic surgeons should call it “a condition” and avoid using the words cancer, tumor, disease or malignancy, the […]
I have to admit that when I first read about the FDA’s report tying rare cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma to breast implants, my mind raced with a strange blend of excitement, intense interest and concern. My thoughts shifted from “wow, that’s really interesting” to “exactly what did the FDA find” to “should I be worried?”
So I’ve decided to write this morning’s post from my perspective as an oncologist
It’s a Pandora’s box, but one that needs be opened. The problem is that if we biopsy every abnormality – such as a minor thickening or fluid accumulation adjacent to a breast implant – we’ll hike up the costs and, more importantly, the complications associated: With every needle stick there’s a risk of infection, additional scar formation and more. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to overlook a treatable, early-stage lymphoma. Women need to know of the risks of implants, which can only be determined if doctors thoroughly investigate these sorts of complications.