Breast Implants Linked to Rare Form of Cancer by FDA

In late January, the FDA announced that it had found a possible link between breast implants and the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The FDA stated that it believes that women with breast implants may have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL adjacent to the breast implant.

Literature reviewed by the FDA identified 34 unique cases of ALCL in women with breast implants worldwide. In total, the agency is aware of approximately 60 cases of ALCL in women with breast implants that were identified through the FDA’s contact with other international regulatory agencies, scientific experts and breast implant manufacturers.

Read the full FDA announcement here (which page provides access to other FDA resources on breast implants).

Interestingly, Dr. Michael Harbut, a Detroit environmental medicine specialist, said the FDA's announcement is a decade late. In October 2000, Dr. Harbut sent a 70-page petition to the FDA asking the agency to warn the public that medical devices containing silicone (found in the external shell of breast implants) are manufactured with the chemical catalyst hexachloroplatinate, which can trigger immunologic reactions associated with a variety of adverse health effects.

Says Harbut: "I warned them that breast implants contained toxins and that there could be health problems, and they ignored me."

For further reactions in the medical community to the FDA's announcement, please see the article published on MedPage Today.