US experts: Too soon to pull breast implants tied to cancer

Associated Press


Government medical advisers said Monday it’s too soon to ban a type of breast implant that has recently been linked to a rare form of cancer, saying more information is needed to understand the problem.

The Food and Drug Administration panel didn’t recommend any immediate restrictions on breast implants after a day reviewing the latest research on the risks of the devices, which have been subject to safety concerns for decades.

The FDA has been grappling with how to manage emerging science that shows the implants can trigger a rare form of lymphoma that grows in the scar tissue surrounding the breasts. The agency identified about 450 cases of the cancer worldwide, including 12 deaths. Almost all of the cases involve a type of textured implant that is designed to stop implants from slipping and to minimize scar tissue.

But the majority of the 19 panelists – including plastic surgeons and cancer experts – said it was too soon to remove the products from the market.

Estimates of the frequency of the disease range from 1 in 3,000 women to 1 in 30,000. It grows slowly and can usually be successfully treated by removing the implants. The FDA said it has also received reports of the disease in smooth implants – which account for most of the U.S. market.

Another panelist said a ban on textured implants would be an “extraordinary overreaction.”

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