Nine deaths have been reported to the US Food and Drug Administration from a rare cancer that is associated with breast implants. The extremely rare cancer, called anaplastic large cell lymphoma, affects cells in the immune system and can be found around the breast implant.
The agency has received 359 reports of possible breast implant-associated cancer cases as of February 1. But the exact number of cases “remains difficult to determine due to significant limitations in world-wide reporting and lack of global implant sales data” .
In 2011, the FDA first raised the possibility of a small but significant risk of developing the cancer after getting breast implants. It asked doctors whether they noticed changes in their patients and for women to check for symptoms such as fluid buildup, hardening or a mass around their implants. Symptoms of the cancer also include swelling and redness around the breast implants.
Breast implants remain incredibly popular. It’s the top cosmetic surgery performed in the US, with 290,467 procedures in 2016, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. People who are considering getting the surgery should do their research and discuss with their surgeons about the risks and benefits of textured- and smooth-surfaced implants, the FDA advised. People who have breast implants should monitor their implants for any changes and get routine screenings such as mammograms or MRIs.