WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday that breast implants may be linked to a heightened risk for a rare cancer, as evidenced in a small but growing number of cases that have been reported in recent years.
The agency now says that both silicon and saline implants may be linked to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), which could develop within the scar tissue left by the implant procedure.
But the absolute risk to any one woman is likely to be very low, experts stressed.
"Lymphoma is a cancer involving cells of the immune system and ALCL is a very rare type of lymphoma," Dr. William Maisel, chief scientist and deputy director for science at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said during an early afternoon press conference Wednesday.
"The FDA believes that women with breast implants may have a small, but increased, risk of developing ALCL," he said. Only about one of every 500,000 American women each year are diagnosed with ALCL, Maisel said, and "ALCL in the breast is even more rare, occurring in three of every 100 million in the United States."
He added that "ALCL in the breast is not the same as breast cancer."
Of the 5 million to 10 million women around the world who have implants, the FDA says it now knows of roughly 60 cases of ALCL. That number has been tough to verify, the agency said, since some cases may have been duplicated in separate reports.
The agency is asking doctors to report any cases of ALCL, and for makers of implants to update their labeling and other information to disclose the potential hike in risk to both doctors and patients.
The agency's decision is also based of studies published from 1997 to 2010 that identified 34 cases of ALCL among women with either silicon or saline implants around the world, Maisel said.
Among these cases
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