Increase in rare cancer linked to breast implants

Australian women diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer linked to breast implants has risen. (AAP)

Australian women with breast implants are encouraged to consult their surgeon about the risk of a rare form of lymphoma.

The number of Australian women diagnosed with a rare but deadly form of blood cancer linked to breast implants has risen, leading to calls from health experts for greater awareness.

In late 2016, the Therapeutic Goods Administration confirmed 46 cases of breast implant-associated (BIA) ALCL, including three deaths.

The number of cases has since risen to 53, according to a paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO of the Cancer Council Australia, says while the risk is low it's important that women who've had breast enhancement to clarify with their surgeon the type of implants used.

"Analysis shows that there is a link between a particular type of breast implants with an either textured or polyurethane surface and anaplastic large cell lymphoma," said Prof Aranda.

"Women who are concerned about their breast implants may wish to speak to their surgeon to verify what type of implant they have," she added.

According to the MJA paper, all the cases of BIA ALCL occurred three to 14 years after implantation, and all occurred in women with exposure to implants with surface rendering that was either textured or polyurethane.

None so far recorded in women who had only ever had implants with smooth surfaces, the authors explained.

The risk of developing this type of cancer remains relatively low - between 1/1000 or 1/10,000 women.

Professor Aranda says women who notice any changes to their breasts should see their doctor straight away.

"The TGA aren't proactively encouraging women to have implants removed or undergo any extra testing, but women should keep an eye out for any swelling, pain or enlargement," Prof Aranda said.

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Source: AAP - SBS

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