Do Breast Implants Cause Lymphoma?

Four-hundred thousand women every year get breast implants. New numbers from the FDA show an increase in women getting cancer from the implants.

Stacey Boone was trying to boost her self-esteem, and wound up fighting for her life.

"It was for how I wanted to feel about myself," Boone explained.

She had no idea the implants would nearly kill her.

"I came close three different times to dying. It started metastasizing to my bones. It metastasized to my liver," said Boone.

Stacey says doctors determined the plastic from her textured implant caused breast implant- associated lymphoma. The symptoms include lumps or hardening of the implant and fluid behind the implant.

"The symptoms often come on years after the breast implants are surgically placed." said Frederick Locke, MD, a Medical Oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Dr. Locke says recent FDA warnings show there have been 359 breast implant- associated lymphoma cases reported. Nine deaths have been documented.

"When the FDA looked if it was associated with silicone or saline implant there wasn't much of a difference," Dr. Locke said.

But the difference in these cases? Ninety percent had textured implants … just like Stacey. Locke says breast implant- associated lymphoma can affect 1 in 30 thousand women.

Dr. Locke continued, "The risks are very small in developing breast implant associated lymphoma."

But Stacey says for her, that risk was all too real.

Doctors say a test of the fluid behind the implant can detect this kind of cancer. If detected, doctors usually remove the implant. If that doesn't work a new drug called bremtuximab is being used for treatment.

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