According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as of August 2018 more than 230 people in the United States and 570 people worldwide have been diagnosed with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, an uncommon cancer.
Although breast implant-associated ALCL is uncommon, the FDA believes that women with textured breast implants have a small but increased risk of developing this disease in the tissue capsule the body forms around an implant over time. ALCL may also be found in the lymph nodes and the skin.
At this time, data indicates that the incidence of ALCL is very low, even among breast implant patients. Between one in 1,000 to one in 30,000 of these individuals develop the disease, according to recent studies. Currently, there does not seem to be a greater cancer risk based on the type of implant (silicone or saline) or the type of surgery (breast augmentation or reconstruction).
Overall, lymphomas of any type that occur in the breast are rare, accounting for only 1% to 2% of all non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Most breast lymphomas involve B cells. However, in breast implant-associated ALCL the diseased cells are T cells. While they play different roles, both are cells of the immune system.
Implant-associated ALCL tends to remain confined around the breast implant. Most patients have a good prognosis when they receive the appropriate treatment.