The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found nine deaths linked to a rare blood cancer that is associated with breast implants.
The FDA has gone public with the link after finding 359 cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in patients with breast implants. These cases include nine patients who have died.
The FDA first found a link between breast implants and the cancer in 2011, however there were too few cases to prove the connection.
Interestingly, there was also information about the texture of the implants and 231 of the cases, with 203 reporting breast implants with textured surfaces and only 28 with smooth surfaces. This suggests a higher risk of the cancer for women who have breast implants that are textured.
The contents of the breast implants were also explored, however no influence was found, with 186 cases having silicone gel implants and 126 cases having saline implants.
The cancer is mainly associated with the scar tissue from inserting the implant. It is still rare – over 300,000 women in the US get breast implants, but only 359 cases of the cancer have been reported.
SBS reports that in Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported three deaths and 46 confirmed cases of breast implant-associated ALCL last December.
At this stage the FDA is advising any women with breast implants who notice symptoms including pain, lumps and swelling to see their doctors about it. They have advised women with no symptoms that it is not necessary to remove the implants.