9 Deaths From Breast Implant-Linked Cancer: FDA

Nine deaths and hundreds of cases of a rare cancer have been linked with breast implants, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The disease is not breast cancer, but rather an immune system cancer called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In cases associated with implants, the cancer grows in the breast, usually in scar tissue around the implant. In most cases, the disease in treatable, The New York Times reported.

The cancer was first linked to breast implants in 2011. As of Feb. 1, the FDA knew about 359 cases of this cancer associated with breast implants.

The disease is most likely to occur with textured implants that have a pebbly surface rather than a smooth surface, the FDA said. Of the 359 reported cases, there was information about the implant surface in 231. Of those, 203 patients had textured implants and 28 had smooth implants, The Times reported.

Whether the implants contained silicone gel or saline appeared much less important than surface texture in disease risk.

The FDA said the actual number of cases of this breast implant-related lymphoma is unknown, because there is limited documentation of problems and little worldwide data on implant sales, The Times reported.

In 2016, about 290,000 women in the United States had implants for breast enlargement and 109,000 received implants for reconstruction after breast cancer, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Cases of the disease are typically diagnosed when women develop symptoms such as lumps, pain, fluid buildup and swelling. In most cases, removing the implant and the surrounding tissue cures the disease, but some women may require chemotherapy and radiation, The Times reported.

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