by Amy Goodrich
Many women around the world have breast implants for cosmetic reasons or following breast-cancer surgery.
In rare occasions, these breast implants may lead to a new emerging cancer type, called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL. Although the risk is small, before making their decision patients should be advised about the possible cancer risk triggered by one of the most common implants.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, American plastic surgeon Professor Mark Clemens said that while the disease is still very rare, the actual incidence has been hugely underestimated.
True incidence is ten times higher than previously reported
BIA-ALCL is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic fluid and should not be confused with breast cancer. As a part of the immune system, lymphatic fluid circulates throughout the body spreading the newly formed cancer cells to other tissues where they can slowly develop into solid tumors. Detectable tumors are typically seen at least four years after the surgery.
So far 173 patients worldwide have been identified with BIA-ALCL. Professor Clemens has been tracking cases since the first report of it in 2011 and has studied the disease in depth. He believes that the commonality of BIA-ALCL is ten times higher than what women are often told.
He said: “A figure of one in 500,000 has been quoted, but this is a vast underestimate. It does not take into account that it takes on average ten years after an implant for symptoms to occur. Given this, the actual number is one in 50,000.”
As a result, many women are completely unaware of the true risk of the surgery. Some aren’t being told about the disease at all – including BIA-ALCL survivor Charlotte Fouracres. She claims that the disease was never mentioned by her doctors or their staff.
BIA-ALCL often not recognized
In 2012, the 30-year-old teacher from Colchester, Essex, underwent cosmetic surgery to take her breasts from a B to a D cup to boost her self-esteem. In July 2015 Charlotte discovered a lump in her breast which was later confirmed as anaplastic large cell lymphoma or ALCL.
She was immediately put on chemotherapy, which failed to halt the tumor from spreading to her chest wall, making surgery impossible. With her health dramatically slipping through her fingers, Charlotte feared that she might not be able to see her four children grow up.
Given her fast deteriorating health, she was advised to consult breast surgeon Fiona MacNeill at cancer center The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London.
Dr. MacNeill had treated two other patients with BIA-ALCL and found that Charlotte was wrongly diagnosed for the more common ALCL. She explained that the diagnosis for BIA-ALCL is very rare and requires more specific tests.
She told the Daily Mail that the cancer is relatively new to the medical world. As a result, many doctors often don’t recognize it when they see it. Although both are quite similar, she said that it is possible that BIA-ALCL does not respond well to the type of chemotherapy used to treat the more common form.
Shortly after Charlotte received seven cycles of a £10,000 ($13,000) biological therapy drug, followed by the removal of the implants. According to her doctors, Charlotte is now completely free of cancer, but she will need monitoring for the next five years.
Recently, the Agence Nationale de Securite du Medicament et des Produits de Sante (ANSM) has ordered manufacturers to prove the safety of their implants and is pushing for more research into how these silicone prostheses trigger cancer development. (Natural News).