More cases of rare cancer linked to breast implants, FDA reports

More women have been diagnosed with a rare but deadly lymphoma caused by breast implants, according to a new Food and Drug Administration report.

The FDA announced in a statement Wednesday that there are now 457 women in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, (or BIA-ALCL), and that nine of those women have died.

BIA-ALCL isn't breast cancer, but a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or cancer of the immune system. It's usually found in scar tissue and fluid near the implant, but sometimes spreads throughout the body, according to the FDA website.


“We hope that this information prompts providers and patients to have important, informed conversations about breast implants and the risk of BIA-ALCL,” Dr. Binita Ashar, of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the statement.

Most cases of the cancer have occurred in women with textured breast implants, according to a letter to doctors the FDA also released Wednesday.

Doctors are asked to be aware of the risk, “particularly in patients with new swelling, lumps, or pain around breast implants, to expedite diagnosis of this malignancy.” The FDA also asks doctors to report to them cases of BIA-ALCL in patients with breast implants.