If you have breast implants or know someone who does, you’re at a higher risk of getting a specific type of lymphoma, according to the FDA.
The particular strain is called anaplastic large cell lymphoma and doctors we spoke with tell us women shouldn’t get too worried because this type of lymphoma is very rare.
It’s a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma which is basically a cancer of the immune system.
It’s usually found in the scar tissue and fluid near the implant but it can spread throughout the body if left untreated.
Doctor Ramen Mahabir with the Mayo Clinic says the symptoms are obvious. The tissue around the implant can get hard and painful, and the size of the breasts may change also.
“The most common one is a seroma or a fluid collection, and it’s usually not a subtle fluid collection. It’s usually that the breast has increased in size by two or three times,” Mahabir said.
He said doctors and researchers don’t know who is more at risk but they have been able to show women with textured implants tend to be diagnosed with this more often than those with smooth implants.
“The question we’re trying to get at here is what is happening and as yet we don’t know the answer,” he said.
The first report about the connection between implants and lymphoma came out in 1996 and the FDA has been keeping track of cases ever since.
The average time for this to happen is eight years after the implants were put in but can happen as early as two years or as late as 20.
Treatment of this type of lymphoma is surgery to remove the implant which cures the problem 93 percent of the time.