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Do certain types of breast implants increase someone's risk of developing cancer?
The Doctors welcome breast specialist Dr. Kristi Funk and plastic surgeon Dr. Ritu Chopra to discuss the FDA recall of Allergan textured breast implants, after 573 women who received the implants developed a rare form of lymphoma.
Dr. Funk explains this type of lymphoma is a cancer of the immune cells of the bloodstream and not breast cancer. She says when this type of cancer is caught early it is usually curable. She notes it has been found in around 1 in 2000 patients who had this type of breast implant. She does acknowledge there have been 33 deaths associated with this implant.
She suggests to women who have textured implants of any kind to self examine weekly and if you notice a change in the size of either breast or a rash, lump or a change in the breast shape to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon or breast cancer surgeon. Dr. Funk goes on to explain the leading theory about why these implants are causing cancer is due to possible chronic inflammation and the presence of bacteria caused by the implant's rougher surface.
So should women with textured implants consider removing them?
Dr. Funk feels each case should involve "an individualized conversation" between the patient and their doctor. She says explaining the rates of cancer to patients and sharing how they can monitor them helps many patients ease their concerns.
Allergan released the following statement to The Doctors: "We are committed to providing patients, surgeons and healthcare providers with the very latest information about the BIOCELL® withdrawal with this new site. It is important to note that the FDA and other health authorities have recommended not to remove or replace textured breast implants or tissue expanders in asymptomatic patients. Patients are advised to speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon about the risks and benefits of their implant type and address any concerns they may have."