FDA warns of increased cancer risk for women who get specific type of breast implant

Doctors say test of fluid behind implant can detect kind of cancer

HOUSTON – The decision to get breast implants is a very personal one, often based on self-esteem or a medical factor.

Research shows they're overwhelmingly safe, but the Food and Drug Administration is warning about an increased cancer risk for women who get a specific type of implant.

Stacey Boone, someone who got breast implants, had no idea they'd nearly kill her.

"I came close three different times to dying," Boone said. "It started metastasizing to my bones and it metastasized to my liver. My liver had shut down."

Boone said 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," oncologist Frederick Locke said.

Locke said recent FDA warnings show there have been 359 breast implant-associated lymphoma cases reported, including nine deaths.

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

But the difference in these cases? Ninety percent had textured implants, just like Boone.

Locke said breast implant-associated lymphoma can affect 1 in 30,000 women.

"The risks are very small in developing breast implant-associated lymphoma," Locke said.

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 Brentuximab is being used for treatment.

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