Some women get breast implants as part of reconstruction after breast cancer. Others do it to feel more confident.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says around 550,000 women last year received breast implants, but the FDA published a report this year linking a rare cancer to the implants.
So far, there have been 359 reported cases globally, including nine deaths.
The risk is low, but one in 30,000 women with implants could develop it, including one patient who says she is battling the disease and her insurance company, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.
Kimra Rogers was shocked to find a tumor under her arm.
“I could feel a mass that was the size of an egg, it was an egg to a lemon, it was very large,” Rogers said.
Then she learned it was cancer, possibly connected to the cosmetic breast implants she’d had put in 17 yearsago.
“I was never informed that I could possibly get cancer. Basically they said they’re 100 percent safe,” Rogers said.
It’s called breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, a rare cancer the FDA says can develop following breast implants, something doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have been studying for five years.
“This is a type of lymphoma. It is not a breast cancer. It’s actually a cancer that develops in the scar tissue around a breast implant,” said Dr. Mark Clemens.
Breast implants come with either a smooth or a textured outer surface. Surgeons sometimes use these rougher textured implants to limit the movement of a breast implant.
Even though just about 15 percent of implants used in the U.S. are textured, the FDA says most of the women who developed the lymphoma – 203 of 231 cases that identified the type of surface – received the textured implants.
“We see that it’s most commonly occurring around a textured implant,” Clemens said. “So we know that something that’s triggering the lymphoma is a chronic long-lasting inflammatory state you can almost think of it as akin to an allergic reaction in these patients. But it stimulates part of the immune system and in certain genetically susceptible patients, develops into a lymphoma.”
There are three breast implant manufacturers in the U.S.
Rosalyn d’Incelli is with manufacturer Sientra.
Asked about how big the problem, PR or otherwise, could be for breast implant manufacturers, d’Incelli said, “We are taking it very seriously and want to make sure that there’s education.”
In particular, telling doctors and patients that the cancer has a high-cure rate, often simply with taking the implants out.
“In addition to it being rare, it’s also very treatable as long as it’s caught and the implants are removed,” d’Incelli said.
The risk is low, but national cancer treatment guidelines say any woman who does get the lymphoma should have her implants removed as soon as possible.
But insurance companies don’t always agree to pay. Rogers says her insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, denied payment for removal of her implants three times, telling her it was a contract exclusion because her implants were cosmetic.
“I was furious because the first line of defense is to remove the source, the source was still in my body,” Rogers said.
Rogers says after repeated appeals, the company finally agreed to cover removal, but not reconstruction.
The insurer told CBS News in a statement they “do not generally cover cosmetic procedures” but that for this type of lymphoma, they “do cover medically necessary cancer treatments, including removal of implants, chemotherapy and radiation.” The company would not comment on what happened in Rogers’ case. […]
Why Some Women are Ditching Breast Implants
But Dr. Clemens said, “We can’t wait months or years till an insurance company say, ‘okay, we’re gonna cover it.'”
Asked if women’s lives are at risk, Dr. Clemens responded, “That’s correct.”
Rogers says she’s continuing to fight for full insurance coverage for other women.
“I want to be a precedent. I want to be the leader of the pack for all of the women that are behind me. I want them not to do this battle that I’m doing,” Rogers said.
Rogers says the cost of removal and reconstruction is estimated at $9,000 to $12,000.
As for the other two manufacturers, Mentor told CBS News, “Long-term data support the safety and efficacy” of its products.
Allergan says it provides “information regarding the risks” of lymphoma in its patient labeling and works to help bring awareness.
Rogers won’t know who made hers until they are removed, but Sientra did confirm that Rogers’ are not Sientra implants.
The key advice for women who have breast implants here is — again, this is rare.
But if you notice any changes in the implants or your breasts, such as swelling, head to your doctor’s office as soon as possible to have any problems checked out.
Raylene Hollrah was 33, with a young daughter, when she learned she had breast cancer. She made a difficult decision, one she hoped would save her life: She had her breasts removed, underwent grueling chemotherapy and then had reconstructive surgery.
In 2013, six years after her first diagnosis, cancer struck again — not breast cancer, but a rare malignancy of the immune system — caused by the implants used to rebuild her chest.
“My whole world came crumbling down again,” said Ms. Hollrah, now 43, who owns an insurance agency in Hermann, Mo. “I had spent the past six years going to the oncologist every three months trying to keep cancer away, and here was something I had put in my body to try to help me feel more like a woman, and it gave me cancer. I thought, ‘I’m not going to see my kids grow up.’”
Her disease — breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma — is a mysterious cancer that has affected a tiny proportion of the more than 10 million women worldwide who have received implants. Nearly all the cases have been linked to implants with a textured or slightly roughened surface, rather than a smooth covering. Texturing may cause inflammation that leads to cancer. If detected early, the lymphoma is often curable.
The Food and Drug Administration first reported a link between implants and the disease in 2011, and information was added to the products’ labeling. But the added warnings are deeply embedded in a dense list of complications, and no implants have been recalled. The F.D.A. advises women only “to follow their doctor’s recommended actions for monitoring their breast implants,” a spokeswoman said in an email this month.
Until recently, many doctors had never heard of the disease, and little was known about the women who suddenly received the shocking diagnosis of cancer brought on by implants.
An F.D.A. update in March that linked nine deaths to the implants has helped raise awareness. The agency had received 359 reports of implant-associated lymphoma from around the world, although the actual tally of cases is unknown because the F.D.A.’s monitoring system relies on voluntary reports from doctors or patients. The number is expected to rise as more doctors and pathologists recognize the connection between the implants and the disease.
Women who have had the lymphoma say that the attention is long overdue, that too few women have been informed of the risk and that those with symptoms often face delays and mistakes in diagnosis, and difficulties in receiving proper care. Some have become severely ill.
Implants have become increasingly popular. From 2000 to 2016, the number of breast augmentations in the United States rose 37 percent, and reconstructions after mastectomy rose 39 percent. Annually, nearly 400,000 women in the United States get breast implants, about 300,000 for cosmetic enlargement and about 100,000 for reconstruction after cancer, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Allergan and Mentor are the major manufacturers. Worldwide, an estimated 1.4 million women got implants in 2015.
“I’d like to think that since then we’ve made progress on that,” Dr. Clemens said.
Late last year, an alliance of cancer centers, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, issued treatment guidelines. Experts agree that the essential first step is to remove the implant and the entire capsule of scar tissue around it. Otherwise, the disease is likely to recur, and the prognosis to worsen.
Not all women have been able to get the recommended treatment. Kimra Rogers, 50, a nursing assistant in Caldwell, Idaho, learned last May that she had lymphoma, from textured implants she had for more than 10 years. But instead of removing the implants and capsules immediately, her doctor prescribed six rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation. A year later, she still has the implants.
“Unfortunately, my doctor didn’t know the first line of defense,” Ms. Rogers said.
She learned about the importance of having the implants removed only from other women in a Facebook group for those with the disease.
Her health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, covered the chemotherapy and radiation but has refused to pay for removal of the implants, and told her that her appeal rights were “exhausted.” In a statement sent to The New York Times, a spokesman said, “Cosmetic breast implants are a contract exclusion, as are any services related to complications of the cosmetic breast implants, including implant removal and reconstruction.”
Physicians dispute that reasoning, saying the surgery is needed to treat cancer. Her lawyer, Graham Newman, from Columbia, S.C., said he was planning a lawsuit against the implant makers, and had about 20 other clients with breast-implant lymphoma from Australia, Canada, England and the United States.
Ms. Rogers has been unable to work for a year. If she has to pay to have the implants removed, it will mean taking out a $12,000 loan.
“But it’s worth my life,” she said.
Insurers generally cover implants after a mastectomy, but not for cosmetic enlargement, which costs $7,500 or more. Repeat operations for complications are also common, and usually cost more than the original surgery.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Most of the cancers have developed from two to 28 years after implant surgery, with a median of eight. A vast majority occurred with textured implants.
Most implants in the United States are smooth. But for some, including those with teardrop shapes that would look odd if they rotated, texturing is preferable, because tissue can grow into the rough surface and help anchor the implant.
Researchers estimate that in Europe and the United States, one in 30,000 women with textured implants will develop the disease. But in Australia the estimate is higher: one in 10,000 to one in 1,000. No one knows why there is such a discrepancy.
What’s inside the implant — silicone or saline — seems to make no difference: Case numbers have been similar for the two types. The reason for the implants — cosmetic breast enlargement or reconstruction after a mastectomy — makes no difference, either.
Symptoms of the lymphoma usually include painful swelling and fluid buildup around the implant. Sometimes there are lumps in the breast or armpit.
To make a diagnosis, doctors drain fluid from the breast and test it for a substance called CD30, which indicates lymphoma.
The disease is usually treatable and not often fatal. Removing the implant and the entire capsule of scar tissue around it often eliminates the lymphoma. But if the cancer has spread, women need chemotherapy and sometimes radiation.
“In the cases where we have seen bad outcomes, it was usually because they were not treated or there was a major delay in treatment, on the level of years,” Dr. Clemens said. Doctors at MD Anderson have treated 38 cases and have a laboratory dedicated to studying the disease.
About 85 percent of cases can be cured with surgery alone, he said. But he added that in the past, before doctors understood how well surgery worked, many women were given chemotherapy that they probably did not need.
Case reports on the F.D.A. website vary from sketchy to somewhat detailed and rarely include long-term follow-up. Some describe initial diagnoses that were apparently mistaken, including infection and other types of cancer. In some cases, symptoms lasted or recurred for years before the right diagnosis was made.
What exactly causes the disease is not known. One theory is that bacteria may cling to textured implants and form a coating called a biofilm that stirs up the immune system and causes persistent inflammation, which may eventually lead to lymphoma. The idea is medically plausible, because other types of lymphoma stem from certain chronic infections. Professional societies for plastic surgeons recommend special techniques to avoid contamination in the operating room when implants are inserted.
“It could also just be the immune system response to some component of the texturing,” Dr. Clemens said. The rough surface may be irritating or abrasive. Allergan implants seem to be associated with more cases than other types, possibly because they are more deeply textured and have more surface area for bacteria to stick to, he said. Allergan uses a “lost-salt” method that involves rolling an implant in salt to create texture and then washing the salt away. Other makers use a sponge to imprint texturing onto the implant surface.
Allergan is studying bacterial biofilms, and immune and inflammatory responses to breast implants, a spokesman said in an email. He said the company took the disease seriously and was working with professional societies to distribute educational materials about it.
Another possible cause is that some women have a genetic trait that somehow, in the presence of implants, predisposes them to lymphoma. Dr. Clemens said researchers were genetically sequencing 50 patients to look for mutations that might contribute to the disease.
Dr. Clemens was a paid consultant for Allergan from 2013 to 2015, but not for breast implants, and no longer consults for any company, he said.
A spokeswoman for Mentor said the company was monitoring reports about the lymphoma, and stood behind the safety of its implants.
Diana Zuckerman, PhD, National Center for Health Research, Our Bodies Ourselves:March 28, 2017
Last week the media discovered that breast implants can cause cancer. Rather than causing breast cancer, experts now say that breast implants can cause a type of lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
You’ll be excused for thinking this is news. The truth is that experts have known that breast implants cause ALCL since at least 2013, and some of the foremost plastic surgeons in the country were discussing it behind closed doors since at least 2010.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for making public information about the risks of medical devices, including breast implants, first published a report on its website about ALCL and breast implants in 2011. At that time, they said there was evidence that implants might possibly cause ALCL. The FDA’s report came months after an article published in Allure magazine stated that plastic surgeons and their medical societies were studying the possible link between breast implants and ALCL.
Articles subsequently published in medical journals concluded that breast implants cause ALCL. But despite the growing evidence, the FDA didn’t update its website to officially report that breast implants really can cause ALCL until last week. That’s when the media realized it was a real story.
If you think women should have been told this sooner, here’s what you need to know:
In May 2016, the World Health Organization published a report that included the term breast implant associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL). A few months later, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) released the first worldwide oncology standard for the disease. The guidelines (you need to sign up for a free account to see them) include a guided algorithm for surgeons and oncologists to test for and diagnose the disease. The authors conclude that any abnormal accumulation of fluid or a mass that develops near the breasts months after breast implants are implanted must be evaluated.
They also state that even if the BIA-ALCL is confined to the scar capsule that surrounds the implant and even if that capsule is totally removed through proper explant surgery, the patient must be followed for 2 years to make sure the ALCL is eliminated.
Why didn’t plastic surgeons or the FDA make that information more widely available? I’m sure there are women and their doctors who would have benefited from that information in the last few months.
In 2015, plastic surgeons who had denied any link between breast implants and cancer for more than two decades published an article in a plastic surgery journal about 173 women with ALCL that was caused by their breast implants.
However, plastic surgeons across the country focused on reassuring women that BIA-ALCL is “very rare” and the FDA echoed that mantra. But, although rare, it seems that BIA-ALCL is not “very rare.” In Australia, which can track medical problems from any kind of implants better than the tracking of implants in the U.S., the Australian Department of Health estimates that BIA-ALCL affects as many as one in 1,000 women with breast implants.
The estimates of plastic surgeons and the FDA are much lower in the U.S., but there is no reason to think BIA-ALCL is less likely to develop in women in the U.S. than in Australia. Given the dramatic increase in BIA-ALCL diagnoses in recent years, it is clear that BIA-ALCL was under-diagnosed and under-reported for many years.
For women with ALCL, it doesn’t matter how rare it is. The sooner it is diagnosed, the more likely it can be cured easily by removing the implants and scar capsule surrounding it. At later stages, women will need chemotherapy and are less likely to survive, according to research conducted at the MD Anderson Cancer Center that was published in 2013.
The study followed women for 5 years and found that ALCL related to breast implants sometimes requires chemotherapy, and approximately 25% of the implant patients with the more serious type of ALCL died during the 5 years following their diagnosis. You can read more about the study here.
ALCL caused by breast implants can result in swelling, which is often mistaken for an infection and treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are ineffective against ALCL and the delay in timely and appropriate treatment for ALCL is dangerous.
A published response in the same medical journal urged physicians to respond quickly and to check patients who have swelling near their implants for ALCL. This would require cytology testing rather than testing for bacteria.
This news is especially important to women who undergo mastectomies to prevent cancer or for DCIS or very early breast cancer, either of which is equally likely to be cured with a lumpectomy instead. Women trying to beat cancer by undergoing a radical surgery they don’t need are unlikely to do so if breast implants will put them at risk of developing a different type of cancer.
The news is equally frightening to cosmetic surgery patients. Many health insurance companies refuse to cover the cost of medical tests or treatment for women with breast problems related to cosmetic breast implants. We now know this can result in undetected ALCL, which can be fatal. In addition, delays in treatment for ALCL can be extremely expensive for patients and their insurance companies; the companies would be required to pay for treatment for ALCL when it is eventually diagnosed at a later stage.
Women deserve to know the facts. And they deserved to know them years ago.
Roni Caryn Rabin, The New York Times: January 29, 2017
After learning she had a high genetic risk for breast cancer, Dane’e McCree, like a growing number of women, decided to have her breasts removed. Her doctor assured her that reconstructive surgery would spare her nipples and leave her with natural-looking breasts.
It did. But while Ms. McCree’s rebuilt chest may resemble natural breasts, it is now completely numb. Her nipples lack any feeling. She cannot sense the slightest touch of her breasts, perceive warmth or cold, feel an itch if she has a rash or pain if she bangs into a door.
And no one warned her.
“I can’t even feel it when my kids hug me,” said Ms. McCree, 31, a store manager in Grand Junction, Colo., who is raising two daughters on her own.
Plastic surgeons performed more than 106,000 breast reconstructions in 2015, up 35 percent from 2000. And they have embraced cutting-edge techniques to improve the appearance of reconstructed breasts and give them a more natural “look and feel” — using a woman’s belly fat to create the new breast, sparing the nipple, minimizing scarring with creative incisions and offering enhancements like larger, firmer lifted breasts.
Chloe Tejada, The Huffington Post Canada: July 21, 2016
Talk about horrifying.
On Tuesday, Crystal Hefner posted an update to her social media accounts, revealing to her fans that she removed her breast implants after they caused several major health problems and bad side effects.
In the photo, posted on her Instagram and Facebook pages, the 30-year-old Playboy model — who’s been married to Hugh Hefner since 2012 — is seen lying convalescing on a hospital chair, wearing a blue gown, a robe and a towel resting on her forehead — an IV line attached to her hand.
“My Breast Implants Slowly Poisoned Me,” she titled her post.
“Intolerance to foods and beverages, unexplained back pain, constant neck and shoulder pain, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog, memory loss), stunted hair growth, incapacitating fatigue, burning bladder pain, low immunity, recurring infections and problems with my thyroid and adrenals,” she wrote.
Hefner went on to explain that symptoms started a few years ago but she ignored them, despite the fact that she was not feeling well.
“The aches, the bladder pain, brain fog, fatigue. I ignored it, labeling myself a hypochondriac, despite truly worrying that there was something wrong with me. I joked about losing my memory to age, and about getting ‘lazy.'”
As the negative side effects worsened, her work as a model and DJ suffered.
“I began to cancel appointments and shoots because everything exhausted me,” she said. “I’ve had days in 2016 when I couldn’t get out of bed. I’ve felt such despair knowing life was happening all around me but I couldn’t participate… the fatigue was so severe that I could barely leave the house or drive. I was afraid to get up there in front of a crowd and go blank with brain fog.” […]
After announcing that she had been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and toxic mold, commenters said her symptoms were similar to the effects of those suffering from Breast Implant Illness.
She became a patient at The Lu-Jean Feng Clinic in Ohio, where, after discussing it with Dr. Lu-Jean Feng, she had her implants removed.
“Instantly I noticed my neck and shoulder pain was gone and I could breathe much better,” she wrote about how she felt after the surgery. “I know I won’t feel 100% overnight. My implants took 8 years to make me this sick, so I know it will take time to feel better. I also have other illnesses to address, but with the toxic bags removed, my immune system can focus on what it needs to.” […]
Here’s to wishing Crystal a safe, and healthy recovery.
Breasts can be both a blessing and a curse. And regardless of their size or shape, breasts can change in your 20s and 30s to the point where you may be left stunned, annoyed, or even worried.
Of course, there are the usual monthly changes that many of us endure. “Premenstrual swelling and tenderness of both breasts occurs during the second half of the menstrual cycle,” according to an article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This means you might have that oh-so-familiar boob pain, on top of all your other PMS symptoms. You might even feel dense, bumpy areas on the outside of your breasts. These changes are likely due to varying levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and often go away once your period arrives.
Again, this is all to be expected. But if you think back to the history of your breasts, you may notice there have been some other, more lasting, changes over the years. Maybe they’ve grown, or maybe they’ve shrunk. Maybe they have stretch marks, or maybe your nipples don’t look the same. It’s fascinating to watch all these changes take place, and yet it can leave you wondering if you’re the only one. (You probably aren’t.) Read on to find out other ways your boobs can change over the years, and remember — if anything is different, or worries you, definitely get yourself checked out by a doctor.
1. Your Areolae May Get Darker
It sounds kind of peculiar — an area of your body changing color. But it is definitely something that can happen to the area around your nipples over time. “It doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone, but … your areolae can start looking larger and darker than it did before, which is totally normal,” said Lane Moore, in an interview with Karen Boyle, M.D., on Cosmopolitan. It’s not cause for concern, but it can be pretty strange.
2. They Will Probably Fluctuate In Size
Breasts can fluctuate in size for a seemingly unending list of reasons. (Think about how they feel huge when you’re on your period, due to that influx of hormones I mentioned.) But another culprit affecting the size of your breasts is weight gain. “Your breasts are made up of breast tissue (including lobules and ducts that are called into action while breastfeeding) and fat tissue,” said Paige Fowler on SHAPE. “So when you gain weight, your breasts increase in size.” And the opposite is true for weight loss.
3. They Can Get Stretch Marks
As your breast size changes — due to weight gain, weight loss, or pregnancy — you may notice little lines starting to appear on your skin. These are stretch marks, and they can show up regardless of your age or skin color. “If you have gained weight recently, your breast stretch marks were likely caused by this,” said Richard Kalinowski on the health website Livestrong.com. “Even after losing excess weight, some evidence of the stretch marks will always remain, but they will become fainter and less noticeable.”
4. You May Find Lumps & Bumps
You should know how to do a breast cancer check, and you should do it regularly. This is a great way to catch cancer early on. But it’s also a great way to scare yourself with other, totally harmless, lumps and bumps. If you feel anything lurking under the surface of your skin, don’t panic — it’s likely nothing more than a benign cyst. “Fibrocystic change, which is a very common condition characterized by benign lumps in one or both breasts, often emerges when women are in their 20s,” said Zahra Barnes, in an interview with Lisa Jacobs, M.D., on Women’s Health. You should get them checked out, but they are usually nothing to worry about.
5. They’ll Be Less Full After Pregnancy
Your 20s and 30s are obviously prime baby making time, so changes brought on by pregnancy are worth noting. Of course you can expect to gain weight during pregnancy, and this will mean fuller breasts. You also may have lactation and breastfeeding to contend with, which can also affect the size of your boobs. But once that’s all over and done with, you may notice that things don’t necessarily go back to normal. “Breasts shrink, the fullness is gone, there is laxity in the skin and less tension on the suspensory ligaments,” said gynecologist Kevin M. Audlin, MD, in an interview with Aviva Patz onPrevention. This may mean droopier boobs, but hey — at least you got a baby out of the deal.
6. Your Nipples May Protrude
Another post-pregnancy milestone to expect is larger nipples, as well as darker areolas. And these changes can end up being permanent. Unlike your fuller pregnancy boobs, the darker areola color and protruding nipples may stick around, according to Patz. If you’re used to your nipples looking a certain way, it can be disconcerting. But I’m sure, with a new baby, that you have more important things on your mind.
7. They May Start To Droop
OK, “droop” is kind of a upsetting term, as it makes your boobs sound like a dying flower. So let’s say your boobs will start to “settle” in your 20s and 30s. “Having a baby, breastfeeding, and racking up more birthdays all contribute to a loss of elasticity of collagen, the connective tissue under the skin,” said Esther Crain on Women’s Health. “Sag can also be a matter of genetics.” So if your mom’s boobs “settled” early on, then your pair may do the same.
8. They May Be Worse For Wear After Exercise
Of course you should always get a healthy amount of exercise, regardless of how it affects your breasts. But so many 20- and 30-somethings hit the gym, that possible post-workout boob settling is worth mentioning. “The research is scant right now, but some experts say that the back-and-forth repetitive motions that happen when you run or do a similar workout can lead to a breakdown of breast collagen,” said Crain. It doesn’t mean you should quit the gym, but it may mean switching up your routine or wearing a better bra, if sagging is something you worry about.
The moment you get boobs, they become something to look after. As I said above, every lady should know how to do a self breast exam. If you find something concerning, make an appointment with your gynecologist, ASAP. But other than that, women in their 20s and 30s kind of get off easy when it comes to caring for their breasts. Mammograms aren’t really something you need tothink about until you’re 50, according to Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D. and Anna E. Mazzucco, Ph.D. on StopCancerFund.org. If you have a family history of breast cancer, however, those scans may need to start earlier. Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.
For the most part, being in your 20s and 30s means having healthy, happy boobs. But if any of the above changes occur, do bring it up with your doctor. It’s better to get things checked out, then to assume everything is a-OK.
Actress Stephanie March, best known for playing an assistant district attorney on “Law & Order: SVU,” has opened up about a dangerous reaction she experienced after undergoing breast augmentation.
March, 41, described the episode in a candid essay she wrote for Refinery29. The actress said she decided to have the surgery during a painful time in her life — her split from her then-husband, chef Bobby Flay. […]
March wrote that just two months after the surgery she experienced complications and learned her right implant was infected and the seams of her scar on her right side had burst. Her surgeon removed the implant and sent her to an infectious disease doctor.
“I [had] a hole in my breast for 6 weeks while I blasted my body with antibiotics. I had the implant put back in. I had another infection and rupture on Christmas Eve. I had it taken out again. I had more cultures and tests and conversations with doctors than I care to recall,” March wrote.
March said she came to the conclusion that her complication was not something anyone could have prevented but that, “I am allergic to implants. Plain and simple. My body did. Not. Want. Them. I kept trying to ‘fix’ my body, and it kept telling me to leave it alone.”
The actress, whose divorce from Flay was finalized in July 2015, ultimately had her implants removed. […]
March told ABC News in a statement she is “overwhelmed” and “very moved” by the “positive reaction” to her article.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News Chief women’s health correspondent, said today on “Good Morning America” that even common plastic surgery procedures like breast augmentation are “not without complications.”
“You need to know about these possible complications and they do differ based on the type of implant used, the approach used, the incision and generally the skill and the expertise of the surgeon, although these can happen with the best surgical technique,” Ashton said, adding that March noted in her Refinery29 article she did not blame her own surgeon.
Ashton recommends that patients ask their doctor the following three questions before undergoing plastic surgery: Are you board-certified in plastic surgery? How many of these operations you do per year? What is your complication rate?
“If you think that having cosmetic surgery is going to change your life, it’s not,” Ashton added. “And there’s no such thing as minor surgery. You get a complication, it becomes major real fast.”
The mammogram technician added it’s more difficult to detect abnormalities in the breasts when a woman has implants, to which Dickinson replied, “Take them out! Take them out, cut them out! Just take them out now!” Luckily, she doesn’t need to undergo a mastectomy, and instead will begin radiation treatments next week. If she had to do it all over again, Dickinson said she “would have never gotten breast implants in the first place. […]
Though breast implants do not appear to increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, there may be a link between implants and an increased risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). In 90 percent of breast cancer cases, women find a breast lump themselves and bring it to the attention of their doctor. With implants, it can be a little more difficult to recognize changes in the breasts. According to one study, 55 percent of breast tumors were missed in women with implants compared to 33 percent of tumors in women without them. […]
For women worried that a mammogram will damage their implants, Bevers said not to worry: The benefits of a mammogram far outweigh any small risk of implant damage. But if women do have them, they should tell their clinician so that it’s easier for them to spot any unusual changes that may be taking place. Regardless of implants, though, the best defense against breast cancer is to be familiar with your breasts and to attend screenings regularly.
Overall, Dickinson herself doesn’t plan on slowing down. It’s not a “big pity party,” she said. “I am living and I am happy.”
The above article was published in 2016. In August 2014, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a nonprofit alliance of leading cancer centers, provided guidelines for the diagnosis of “breast implant associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL), based on clear evidence that breast implants can cause ALCL. In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both issued statements confirming that breast implants can cause ALCL. To read about the FDA’s 2017 report on breast implants and ALCL, click here.
Thomas M Burton, Wall Street Journal: May 12, 2016
WASHINGTON—Moves in Congress to link billions of dollars in new medical research funds to revised standards for drug and medical-device approvals are troubling some public-health experts, who say the combination makes it too easy for lawmakers to support lower patient-safety standards.
These safety advocates say legislation to beef up research funding for the National Institutes of Health should be separated from product-approval changes at the Food and Drug Administration.
“This is the first time this has been done this way, and it’s a deal with the devil,” said Dr. David A. Kessler, onetime FDA commissioner during the 1990s under presidents of both parties. “It’s time to uncouple the promise of research funding from the requirement that FDA standards be lowered.”
The linkage was first made last July when the House passed a bill to ease FDA approvals of drugs and devices in ways broadly endorsed by the drug and device industry. That legislation carried a big infusion of cash for medical research—$8.75 billion for NIH and $550 million extra for the FDA, both over five years. The measure, called the 21st Century Cures Act, passed 344-77 with broad bipartisan support.
In the Senate, the leader of a parallel effort said he hopes to bring a package of 19 FDA and NIH bills to the floor soon—along with a separate measure on NIH funds. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) chairman of the committee that approved the package, said finding the source of the funding is “the last remaining important issue” on the legislation, which he considers “the most important bill Congress considers this year.” […]
The new FDA commissioner, Dr. Robert M. Califf, said in a recent talk that “this legislation, if not carefully crafted, could pose significant risks for FDA and American patients…Innovative therapies are not helpful to patients if they don’t work, or worse, cause harm,” he said.
Patient-advocacy groups like the National Center for Health Research and Public Citizen have said several bills now in Congress could jeopardize safety. […]