FDA: Cases of cancer linked to breast implants

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The FDA has issued a warning about the link between a rare type of cancer and breast implants.

On Wednesday, the FDA issued a report that there are 457 unique cases of BIA-ALCL, including nine patient deaths.

According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 300,000 women go under the knife for breast augmentation each year. For some patients, the surgery is cosmetic. For others like the patients of Ohio State surgeon Dr. Clara Lee, the surgery is reconstructive.

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“They are the same implants, so in other words, there are not different implants for reconstruction versus cosmetic,” Dr. Lee said.

Lee said the findings are valuable for two groups of women — those considering a breast augmentation and those living with implants.

“For those women, this is relevant and they'll want to think about these issues,” Lee said. “I think as a clinician and as a scientist, I want to be aware of the most recent data so that I can counsel those women appropriately.”

Dr. Lee said it is important to look at the scope of women impacted by the disease and keep that number in mind.

“I think the main thing is if you're having any symptoms, then for sure see your doctor — so, symptoms would be a mass or pain,” Lee said. “The vast majority of women who have implants aren't going to feel anything or notice anything and they are most likely fine.”