Plastic surgeons should warn patients about breast implant cancer risks, FDA says — after linking MORE deaths and tumors to the procedure
- Case numbers of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) almost doubled since 2022
- The number of patients with the form skin cancer rose from 10 to 19
- And three patients with breast implants died from the disease, the FDA said
Health officials have reissued a warning to plastic surgeries to warn patients about the cancer risks associated with breast implants.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously warned breast implants can trigger a type of skin cancer as well as other cancers in the immune system.
In an updated safety alert issued Wednesday, the FDA said case numbers of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a type of skin cancer, in breast implant patients had almost doubled since September 2022, from 10 reports to 19.
Three deaths due to the disease were also reported.
The FDA said healthcare providers should talk to patients who have or are considering getting breast implants about SCC and lymphomas in the capsule
The FDA said cases of the skin cancer in breast implant patients are rare, but admitted it did not know why they were occurring.
The cancers form in the scar tissue around the breast implant, also known as the capsule, after a boob-job.
SCC is not usually deadly, but it can be life-threatening. Roughly 1.8 million cases are diagnosed in the US every year.
If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body.
When found early, the survival rate is 99 percent, but once it has spread beyond the skin, the five-year survival rate drops to below 50 percent.
In its alert, the FDA highlighted that the cancers were not the same as Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma — a cancer already known to be triggered by implants.
The FDA said healthcare providers should ensure they ‘include information about SCC and various lymphomas in the capsule around the breast implant’ in discussions with people who have or are considering getting breast implants.
All cases of all cancers in the capsule around the breast implant should be reported to the FDA, it said.
The majority of reported SCC cases said the majority of cases involved swelling and painful breasts as symptoms.
Other symptoms included lumps and skin discoloration.
In some cases, patients had had the implants for up to 42 years before developing the diseases.
Breast implants are used to boost breast size (augmentation) or to replace breast tissue that has been removed due to cancer or trauma, or has not developed properly.
Breast augmentation is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the US.
More than 313,000 boob jobs were performed in 2018 — a 48 percent increase since the year 2000. The procedure costs around $6,500.
Doctors think the textured surface of the implants might trigger some women’s immune systems to react in a way which leads to cancer.
However, the FDA’s update showed that cases of SCC were also found in women who had smooth implants at the time of diagnosis.
Efforts have been mounting over the years to inform patients about the health risks of getting a breast implants.
In 2021, new labeling was introduced, alongside a patient checklist to inform people that the implants are not medical devices that will not last a lifetime.
Doctors must walk patients through the health problems to give them the opportunity to back out of the procedure.