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Women concerned about implants after learning they may be linked to rare cancer

A rare form of breast cancer has been linked to breast implants, according to the FDA.

A local plastic surgeon says he's hearing from more patients who are fearful and even considering removing their implants.

"So we've had patients starting to come in asking very legitimate questions about their chances, about whether they should have their implants taken out," said IU Health Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Rajiv Sood.

Earlier this year, the FDA released new findings about a rare cancer associated with breast implants. It's called Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma or ALCL.

"Across the world there are 120 cases reported in the U.S. about 100 of those 120. But it may be that we just have a more robust reporting mechanism for complications," Dr. Sood said.

There have been nine deaths reported as a result of ALCL. Dr. Sood says it's extremely rare but it's a disease breast implant patients should be educated about and know what to look out for.

"So typically these ALCL's occur anywhere from 1-10 years, typically 10 years or longer after your implants. And probably the most common thing is that these women have a recurrent collection of fluid around their implants," Dr. Sood said.

Most of the cancer cases were in patients with textured surfaces on their implants but ALCL can also impact people with smooth surfaces. Dr. Sood says the most important thing is to monitor your body and alert your doctor if you notice any changes, but there's no need to panic just because you have implants.

"But I don't think it's reasonable just to take implants out for the fear of getting something. It's highly treatable once diagnosed and the survival rates are excellent."

ALCL has been linked to silicone and saline implants and it impacts the tissue surrounding the breast. Doctors are now talking to patients during their breast augmentation consultations just to let them know there is a rare chance of getting this form of cancer.