First reported in 2011, Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, referred to as BIA-ALCL, is a rare and highly treatable type of lymphoma that can develop around breast implants. This is a cancer of the immune system, not a type of breast cancer. However, when caught early, BIA-ALCL is usually curable.
BIA-ALCL occurs most frequently in patients who have breast implants with textured surfaces. BIA-ALCL has been found with both silicone and saline implants and both breast cancer reconstruction and cosmetic patients. To date, there are no confirmed BIA-ALCL cases that involve only a smooth implant.
Common symptoms of BIA-ALCL include breast enlargement, pain, asymmetry, lump in the breast or armpit, overlying skin rash, hardening of the breast, or a large fluid collection typically developing at least more than one year after receiving an implant, and on average 8 to 10 years after receiving an implant.
Officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning that they are seeing more cases of this rare cancer and they want doctors to be on the lookout for warning signs. The FDA reports that at least 457 people have developed the disease and nine have died since BIA-ALCL was first reported in 2011. Please see HERE for more information
Patients need to educate themselves about the risks and benefits of breast implants and talk with their health care provider(s) before agreeing to surgery. Additional information is available on the FDA’s Breast Implants website HERE