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Q&A: The link between breast implants and cancer Q&A: The link between breast implants and cancer

Ivan Penn, who writes the Consumer's Edge column that appears regularly in the Times, also answers reader questions about consumer issues on our website (; look for Consumer's Edge heading). We occasionally publish some of those in this space.

Breast implants and cancer risk

With the FDA's finding that there might be an association between breast implants and cancer, what advice is the FDA giving?

First, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the warning based on preliminary findings. The issue continues to be reviewed, but the initial findings suggest women with implants may have a very small, but increased risk of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL.

This was the conclusion of FDA scientists who focused on cases of ALCL in 34 women with breast implants. They also reviewed information from agency reports, international regulatory agencies, scientific experts and breast implant manufacturers.

The FDA notes that the incidents of cancer have been very low compared with the 5 to 10 million women worldwide who have implants.

Here is what the FDA advises women to consider or do:

• If a woman with breast implants has no symptoms, the FDA does not recommend doing anything additional. Women should continue monitoring their implants and obtaining regular breast screening evaluations. The FDA does not recommend removing the implants.

• Women who see changes in the way the area around the implant looks or feels — including swelling or pain around the implant — should see a physician for evaluation.

• Women considering breast implants should be aware of the very small, but increased risk of developing ALCL and discuss it with a physician.

For more information about breast implants and ALCL, visit the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health ( If you don't have Internet access, call toll-free 1-800-638-2041 and the FDA will send information to your home.

Sell or exchange gift cards

Where can I sell or exchange unused or unwanted gift cards?

There are several sites that handle exchanges, sales and purchases of gift cards. Among them:

Q&A: The link between breast implants and cancer Q&A: The link between breast implants and cancer 02/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:27pm]
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