Dr. Mahabir - Recent media reports regarding breast implants and a rare form of cancer

You may have heard or seen recent media reports regarding breast implants and a rare form of cancer. The FDA recently updated information regarding this Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Dr. Raman Mahabir, the Vice Chair of the BIA-ALCL committee of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons answers your questions on Breast Implant Associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL).

Q: What is BIA-ALCL?

A: BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) is an uncommon T-cell lymphoma* that to date has only been reported in patients that have had a textured breast implant. BIA-ALCL is not a cancer of the breast tissue itself but of the scar tissue that the body naturally forms around a breast implant – called the capsule. When caught early, it may be curable in most patients. There is however a spectrum of the disease that ranges from fluid collections in the breast to capsular tumors to lymph node involvement and rarely distant metastatic disease. Ongoing research continues to strive to better understand and define BIA-ALCL.

*Lymph cells are part of the body's normal immune system that helps to protect us from foreign material. A lymphoma is cancer of the lymph system. Lymph nodes are glands in many locations in the body and are part of the lymph system.