YOUR HEALTH: Can some breast implants cause cancer?

TAMPA, Florida – New numbers from the Food and Drug Administration show an increase in women getting cancer from some types of breast implants.

400,000 women every year get breast implants.   That includes Stacey Boone who was originally happy to get the surgery.

"It was, how I wanted to feel about myself," she remembered.

She had no idea they'd nearly kill her.

"I came close three different times to dying," she said.

"It started metastasizing to my bones and it metastasized to my liver, my liver had shut down."

The causes for lymphoma are unknown.    However, those that are susceptible to lymphoma are:

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," explained Dr. Frederick Locke, an oncologist from Tampa-based Moffitt Cancer Center.

He says recent F-D-A warnings show there have been 359 breast implant-associated lymphoma cases reported.   Nine deaths have been documented.

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

But the difference in these cases?

90-percent had textured implants, just like Stacey.    Dr. Locke says breast implant-associated lymphoma can affect 1-in-30,000 women.

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

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

IMPLANTS AND LYMPHOMA:  With more research, the causes of lymphoma have become more defined and the FDA has learned that breast implants are associated with the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma which is a rare non-Hodgkin`s lymphoma. Both silicone and saline are implants have been reported to cause lymphoma. The cancer has been reported more often in patients with textured implants as opposed to smooth ones. The symptoms that may occur are lumps, swelling, and asymmetry in the breasts; however, it has been noted that asymmetry and swelling can be linked to other types of infections. Those who have implants should continue with regular follow-ups. If there are cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma thought to be linked to breast implants it should be reported to The Plastic Surgery Foundation`s website to track these cases and have a better understanding of the role of the breast implants in the disease.  (Source: https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/BreastImplants/ucm239995.htm).

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.