Dr. Nancy Van Laeken M.D., F.R.C.S.C.





You may have heard recent media reports regarding breast implants and a rare form of cancer. Health Canada recently updated information regarding this disease (Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)). The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons is working closely with Health Canada in monitoring the disease.

BIA-ALCL is not a breast cancer, but a rare and treatable T-cell lymphoma that usually develops as a fluid swelling around breast implants.

The current lifetime risk of BIA-ALCL is estimated to be 1:3,817 – 1:30,000 women with textured implants based upon current confirmed cases and textured implant sales data over the past two decades. Thus far, there have been no confirmed cases of BIA-ALCL in women have had only “smooth surface” breast implants.

Currently, Health Canada is not recommending removal of textured implants. Rather, the recommendation is that every woman conduct regular self-examinations. If you develop swelling or a lump in your breast, contact your surgeon right away. They will be able to evaluate you and order the appropriate tests to determine if any treatment is indicated.

Women who develop BIA-ALCL can often be cured by simply removing the implant and the scar tissue surrounding it. Some patients may require additional treatment (such as radiation or chemotherapy). Following removal, replacement with a smooth surface implant may be an option.

For additional information about BIA-ALCL, consult the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons website.

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