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Can going bigger give you the Big C?

By KAYCEE REYES

Getting breast implants—or going bigger, is a personal choice. In this day and age, it is not surprising that more women opt to get theirs done. Worldwide, breast augmentation remains the number one surgical procedure, at more than 1.8 million procedures done in 2018. This is even an increase of 6.1 percent from the previous year, according to the International Society
of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

While breast implants are now generally safer, there are still some risks—and most probably the scariest of them all, a direct link to cancer.

And no, it’s not breast cancer as you might have assumed. It is called breast-implant associated ana-plastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a rare type of cancer of the immune system. But not all breast cancer implants are associated with BIA-AL-
CL.

To understand which are, know that there are different types of breast implants. Silicone implants are made with a silicone structure and filled with silicone gel. Saline implants are also made with a silicone structure but filled with saline solution. Both types are FDA-approved.

These types may have a smooth or textured structure. Smooth texture allows a more natural look, while textured implants have a rough shell where tissue develops around it, making it stay in place and lessen the chances of moving or changing its position inside the breast. However, the textured type is where the problem lies.

Way back in 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about breast implants and ALCL. However, getting it is rare, with currently around 550 cases and 33 deaths worldwide.

Yet, the FDA still warns that while the risk of having BIA-ALCL is low, having breast implants still poses a higher risk than those without them. But what type of implants pose the highest risk?

Cancer forms not on the implant itself but in the fluid around the implant, specifically between the breast tissue and the implant. And with textured implants, there are theories that suggest that the risk is higher possibly because its rough surface may cause more inflammation than an implant with a smooth one.

Recently, pharmaceutical giant Allergan was in the news—and not in a good way. Out of the reported BIA-ALCL cases, more than 400 are associated with Allergan Biocell textured implants, and among the 13 deaths where the implant manufacturer was identified, 12 are from Allergan, according to the FDA.

This caused a worldwide recall of Biocell textured implants and tissue expanders from the company. As dangerous as this may seem, patients with textured implants are not required to have them removed, however.

The FDA notes that any surgery is always risky. But, the surgeon shall discuss different options and measures for patients with textured implants. After all, having breasts go bigger or have them removed is still the patient’s decision.
Yes, the risk of getting BIA-ALCL is very low, but still, cancer is no joke. Symptoms of BIA-ALCL are swelling, pain, and a mass on the breast. However, swelling and pain are common symptoms among those who underwent breast surgery as well.

This is why it is important to conduct regular breast exams and request for check-ups with a surgeon or physician. And regular check-ups are not limited to those with textured implants only—this applies to everyone who underwent breast surgery.

If you are interested in breast augmentation, before everything else, know all the risks and make sure that the procedure will be done by a trained and Board-certified surgeon.

Moreover, he or she should be able to answer all your questions thoroughly and clearly. Remember, with any procedure your
health should always come first.

 

See more at: Manila Bulletin

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