FDA warns of breast cancer risks after finding more deaths and tumors in implant patients

Plastic surgeons should warn patients about breast implant cancer risks, says FDA — after linking MORE deaths and tumors to the procedure

  • The number of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cases has nearly doubled since 2022
  • The number of patients with skin cancer increased from 10 to 19
  • And three patients with breast implants died from the disease, the FDA said



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Health officials have issued another warning to plastic surgery to warn patients about the cancer risks associated with breast implants.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously warned that breast implants can cause some form of skin cancer, as well as other cancers in the immune system.

In an updated safety alert issued Wednesday, the FDA said the number of cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a type of skin cancer, in patients with breast implants has nearly doubled since September 2022, from 10 to 19.

Three deaths from the disease were also reported.

FDA said health care providers should talk to patients who have or are considering breast implants about SCC and capsule lymphomas

FDA said health care providers should talk to patients who have or are considering breast implants about SCC and capsule lymphomas

The FDA said cases of skin cancer in breast implant patients are rare, but admitted not knowing why they occurred.

The cancers form in the scar tissue around the breast implant, known as the capsule, after a boob job.

SCC is usually not fatal, but it can be life-threatening. About 1.8 million cases are diagnosed in the US each year.

If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body.

If found early, the survival rate is 99 percent, but once it has spread beyond the skin, the five-year survival rate drops below 50 percent.

In its warning, the FDA emphasized that the cancers were not the same as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma — a cancer already known to be caused by implants.

The FDA said health care providers should make sure they “include information about SCC and various lymphomas in the capsule surrounding the breast implant” when talking to people who have or are considering breast implants.

All cases of all cancers in the capsule surrounding the breast implant must be reported to the FDA, it said.

The majority of reported SCC cases said most cases related to breast swelling and soreness as symptoms.

Other symptoms included nodules and skin discoloration.

In some cases, patients had the implants for 42 years before developing the disease.

Breast implants are used to increase breast size (augmentation) or to replace breast tissue that has been removed due to cancer or trauma, or that has not developed properly.

Breast augmentation is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the US.

More than 313,000 boob jobs were performed in 2018 — a 48 percent increase since the year 2000. The procedure costs about $6,500.

Doctors believe the textured surface of the implants may trigger some women’s immune systems to react in a way that leads to cancer.

Over the years, there have been increasing efforts to educate patients about the health risks of getting breast implants.

New labeling was introduced in 2021, alongside a patient checklist to inform people that the implants are not medical devices that do not last a lifetime.

Doctors should walk patients through the health issues to give them a chance to withdraw from the procedure.


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