Yesterday the FDA announced that they were investigating a link between breast implants and the onset of rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma or ALCL. See the L.A. Times story here.
Most people are not familiar with ALCL but that will likely change very soon with increased media attention in coming weeks and months.
Although ALCL has been found in the breast of some women with breast implants it is not a breast cancer, but rather a lymphoma, meaning a cancer of the cells of the immune system. ALCL may also occur in other areas of the body including the lymph nodes and skin.
The FDA reviewed medical and scientific reports from 1997 to May of 2010 and found only 60 cases among the millions of women who have had breast implant surgery.
There is no need for women with breast implant to become alarmed; however these women should be aware of a potential link be observant of anything out of the norm. The FDA is recommending that women who notice pain, swelling or lumps near the implant consult their physician.