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Breast Implant Safety Under Debate With New Cancer Risks

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Medical experts, patients, and industry representatives review the risks and benefits of breast implants at a two-day public hearing held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

For years, there's been an endless debate on the safety of breast implants. On one side, there are multitudes of women who have gone through breast implants without any problems.

On the other hand, there have been cases of women experiencing serious health complications from the surgery, including a rare type of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).

Women Speak Out Against Breast Implants

Women who experienced health issues as a result of their breast implants took the stage during the hearing to share their stories to the panel.

Most of the patients who spoke also recommended the FDA to push for more research as well as better provision of risks for women undergoing surgery.

CNN reports that one of the breast implant patients in attendance, Jamee Cook, pointed out to the panel that most women undergoing breast implants are not made aware of all the potential risks of getting breast implants.

Cook, who is the founder of the Breast Implant Victim Advocacy, reveals that her surgery resulted in a host of health issues, including migraines, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. She also raised her concern that her two sons' health issues may have stemmed from the complications related to her breast implants.

Other recommendations include boxed warnings on breast implants and mandatory testing for the health risks related to breast implants.

A number of women also called for a ban on implants with textured surfaces, which have been found to be associated with more health issues than implants with smooth surfaces.

There have been 457 individual cases and nine deaths of lymphoma recorded by the FDA, according to the Washington Post. Six hundred cases and 17 deaths have occurred worldwide.

Industry Experts Discuss Breast Implant Safety

According to Dr. Alan Matarasso, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, their organization works with the FDA for the National Breast Implant Registry, which helps track cases of lymphoma among breast implant patients.

"Hundreds of thousands of patients each year in the US opt for breast implants and report no adverse effects," Matarasso says before the FDA hearing, according to CNN. "When a possible association with a rare disease is reported, we follow the science to provide detailed, accurate information to improve patient safety."

Many of the plastic surgeons cautioned the FDA to consider both sides of the argument carefully, saying that breast implants are generally safe, Washington Post reports.

A number of industry representatives pointed out that surgery is a significant choice for women who want or need breast augmentation or breast reconstruction after breast cancer.

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