What Is ALCL?
Of the 7-10 million women with breast implants, fewer than 300 cases of Breast Implant Associated ALCL have been identified. Literature reviews have identified 34 unique cases, and as many as 75 cases may have been identified worldwide. Because of the rare nature of the tumor, the association between ALCL and breast implants is not clear.
Breast Implants and ALCL Video
ALCL Is Not Breast Cancer
While Breast Cancer is very common (1 in 8 women) ALCL is extremely rare, and is not breast cancer. ALCL is the acronym for Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, a cancer of the cells of the immune system. ALCL can occur in many different parts of the body, including the lymph nodes and skin. According to a large systemic review published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the type of ALCL that has been found in the breast behaves more like the less aggressive skin form and less like a system disease. More information can also be found on the FDA’s web site.
Demographics of all Known Reported Cases
Demographics of the cases are as follows:
- Age: Median 51 years old, Range 28-87 years old
- Implant Type: Silicone 24, Saline 7, Not specified 3
- Time from implant to ALCL diagnosis: Median 8 years, Range 1-23 years
- Reason for Breast Implant: Reconstruction 11, Cosmetic 19, Not Specified 4
How Can I Diagnose ALCL?
The chance of getting Breast Implant Associated ALCL is extremely remote. Textured breast implants seem to be more associated with ALCL than smooth. Most cases have presented as a fluid collection (seroma) occurring more than six months after Breast Augmentation. To diagnose ALCL as often as possible, experts are recommending aspirating (draining) seromas around breast implants when they occur late, and also sending the fluid for cytologic analysis to identify all abnormal cells.
If you feel you have a problem with your Breast Implants, do not delay; seek the advice of a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area as soon as possible.