United Kingdom

Thousands of women at risk from breast augmentations after rare cancer linked to common implants

An urgent warning has been issued to thousands of Australian women who have had breast implants which have been linked to a rare cancer.

Women who have undergone the procedure are urged to be on the look out for symptoms of breast ­implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare  cancer of the immune system that grows in the scar tissue capsule and fluid around the implant.

The cancer has been linked to common 'textured' implants in surgeries going as far back as 2004.

Of the 106 Australian women diagnosed with the disease, four have died, the Herald Sun reported. 

Sixteen of the cases were from Victoria, prompting Safer Care Victoria to raise the alarm. 

Between 5000 and 6000 breast implant or breast reconstruction procedures are performed in Victoria each year.

It comes after Therapeutic Goods Administration cancelled three breast implant devices last October following a review into  BIA-ALCL concerns. 

The risk of BIA-ALCL is estimated to be between one in 1000 and one in 10,000 and is 23 times higher in textured implants than smooth ones.

Plastic surgeons urge women with implants to not panic or get them removed as the risks associated in getting rid of them are greater than being diagnosed with BIA-ALCL.

'There are some women who decide they just can't live with any risk at all and demand to have them out,' Associate Professor Gillian Farrell told the Herald Sun. 

'But if there is no change in your implants at all and they have been in for a number of years and stayed exactly the same, then there is no need to be concerned.' 

Those considering implants are urged to discuss the risks with their surgeon and which implants are considered safer.

Most cases of are detected in the early stages and are cured with surgery.

Symptoms include swelling caused by fluid around the implant, pain in the breast, a rash on the breast, or a lump in the breast, armpit and elsewhere.

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