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Silicone Breast Implants Might Raise Risk of Rare Lymphoma
Date:11/4/2008

But researchers stress absolute chances of disease are still small

TUESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Women with silicone breast implants may have a higher risk of developing a rare form of lymphoma, new research suggests.

But the absolute risk of developing this cancer is still tiny, amounting to about 0.1 to 0.3 per 100,000 women with implants each year, according to the Dutch authors of a study published in the Nov. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Doctors should be aware of this . . . but it's not something women should worry about," said Dr. Mitchell Smith, head of the lymphoma service at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "People with implants have a one in many hundreds of thousands or one in a million chance of developing this cancer."

More importantly, Smith said, the finding might help scientists understand the biology of this particular malignancy.

Silicone breast implants have engendered decades of controversy. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted a 14-year ban on their commercial use, giving approval to two companies, Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif., and Mentor Corp, of Santa Barbara, Calif., to market the implants to all women aged 22 and older.

Neither company responded to requests from HealthDay for comment on the finding.

The implants had been removed from the market in 1992, following suspicions that they might cause cancer or certain autoimmune diseases. There were also concerns that the implants might interfere with the accuracy of breast cancer screening, or that ruptures would cause other health problems.

Researchers have identified previous cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in women with breast implants, and most of these were anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma (ALCL).

Normally, ALCL is exceedingly rare, representing 3 percent or less of all non-Hodgkin lymphoma in adults, and the
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