Health Beat

Health Beat: Do breast implants cause lymphoma?

TAMPA, Fla. - Stacey Boone said she was trying to boost her self-esteem and wound up fighting for her life.

"It was for how I wanted to feel about myself," Boone said about her breast implants.

She had no idea they'd nearly kill her.

"I came close three different times to dying," she said. "It started metastasizing to my bones. It metastasized to my liver."

Boone said doctors determined the plastic from her textured implant caused breast implant- associated lymphoma. The symptoms include lumps or hardening of the implant and fluid behind the implant.

"The symptoms often come on years after the breast implants are surgically placed," said Dr. Frederick Locke, a medical oncologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Locke said recent FDA warnings show there have been 359 breast implant-associated lymphoma cases reported. Nine deaths have been documented.

"When the FDA looked if it was associated with silicone or saline implant there wasn't much of a difference," Locke said.

But the difference in these cases? Ninety percent had textured implants, just like Boone. Locke said breast implant-associated lymphoma can affect one in 30,000 women.

"The risks are very small in developing breast implant-associated lymphoma," Locke said.

But Boone said for her, that risk was all too real.

Doctors say a test of the fluid behind the implant can detect this kind of cancer. If detected, doctors usually remove the implant. If that doesn't work, a new drug called bremtuximab is being used for treatment.

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