Textured Breast Implants and Cancer
One year ago today, the FDA announced that Allergan would recall its textured breast implants because they are linked to an emerging cancer called Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
The announcement was a shock to those of us with this type of implant -- and the first major public acknowledgement that our textured implants posed a serious cancer risk.
I received Allergan textured implants after a double mastectomy to reduce my risk of breast cancer due to a BRCA2 variance, which gave me a 69 percent lifetime risk of cancer.
The risk of BIA-ALCL ranges from one in 355 to one in 30,000, depending on the study. However, the FDA found that the risk of BIA-ALCL was six times higher for people with Allergan textured implants than for people with textured implants made by other manufacturers. Despite this, the FDA and Allergan recommended that women who already had the implants in their bodies should NOT have them removed because the risk of cancer was low. (I had mine removed anyway. They are in the photo below.)
At the time of the announcement, 33 women had died from the cancer and 573 women worldwide had been diagnosed with the disease. Now, a year later, there are 953 cases worldwide, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That’s a 66 percent increase in the number of cases worldwide.
How many more women will be diagnosed in another year?
Since the recall announcement:
· The FDA issued a warning to Allergan in May for “serious deficiencies” in its post-market study to evaluate two types of its textured implants.
· Allergan announced in June it would launch a digital campaign to try to reach thousands of people with implants on the recall list that the company has not been able to contact.