Breast Implants Causing Rare Cancer: The Industry Comes Under Scrutiny

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has been 10 years too late in proposing a ban or suspension of high-grade textured implants because of their links to the rare cancer.

Recent statistics reveal breast implants are causing a rare cancer in women in Australia and New Zealand, called the anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Women diagnosed with this cancer have to undergo 18 months of chemotherapy. More than 90 cases of women with these implants have already been diagnosed with cancer. More staggering is the number of women who already have these implants according to an estimate reported; more than 100, 000.

A regulatory action will be issued against the affected implants’ sponsors and close to 45% of implant products and brands will be recalled and taken off the shelves. With some brands being called for inspection. These brands and makers have to make submissions detailing their products and processes, to go under the scrutiny of the TGA. Breast implant makers and distributors have until July 24 to respond before the regulator makes a final decision. This was a follow up of TGA’s own lab testing and analysis.

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a type of blood cancer. An augmentation of fluid in a sac on the breast is the identifier of this cancer. The fluid grows into the scar around the breast. Reports suggests that a bacterium that grows in a groove of textured implants may be responsible for this. The symptoms are delayed too, they start surfacing seven years post the implant.

In multitude of cases, the doctors and surgeons could not establish the link between the breast implant and the developing cancer. Some operating brands have been asked to provide patients getting certain products with an information leaflet outlining risks and benefits. There is also a general concern surrounding the slow action taken by health regulators around the world.