HealthWatch: Do Breast Implants Cause Lymphoma?


TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Four-hundred thousand women every year get breast implants. New numbers from the FDA show an increase in women getting cancer from the implants. Martie Salt introduces us to a woman who says she was trying to boost her self-esteem, and wound up fighting for her life.

This is a picture of Stacey Boone after she got her breast implants.

“It was for how I wanted to feel about myself,” Boone explained.

She had no idea they’d nearly kill her. 

Boone continued, “I came close three different times to dying. It started metastasizing to my bones. It metastasized to my liver.” 

Stacey says doctors determined the plastic from her textured implant caused breast implant- associated lymphoma. The symptoms include lumps or hardening of the implant and fluid behind the implant.

“The symptoms often come on years after the breast implants are surgically placed.” Frederick Locke, MD, a Medical Oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center explained to Ivanhoe.

Dr. Locke says recent FDA warnings show there have been 359 breast implant- associated lymphoma cases reported. Nine deaths have been documented.

“When the FDA looked if it was associated with silicone or saline implant there wasn’t much of a difference,” Dr. Locke said.

But the difference in these cases? Ninety percent had textured implants … just like Stacey. Locke says breast implant- associated lymphoma can affect 1 in 30 thousand women.

Dr. Locke continued, “The risks are very small in developing breast implant associated lymphoma.” 

But Stacey says for her, that risk was all too real. 

Doctors say a test of the fluid behind the implant can detect this kind of cancer. If detected, doctors usually remove the implant. If that doesn’t work a new drug called bremtuximab is being used for treatment.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Emily Maza Gleason, Field Producer; Travis Bell, Videographer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT: MB #4300

BACKGROUND:  Lymphoma is a cancer that develops in the lymph nodes and the lymphatic system. Two main types are non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s. Hodgkin’s is diagnosed when a special type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell is discovered under a microscope. The majority of those affected with Hodgkin’s can be cured, and it mainly affects more men than women. Non-Hodgkin’s can be a low-grade or high-grade cancer.  The signs of lymphoma are often painless swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpits, or even the abdomen and groin. The swelling can even get to a point where it is pressing against the bones, causing pain. Other symptoms could be swelling of the legs and ankles, breathlessness, chills, enlarged tonsils, headache, fatigue, and unusual itching. In Hodgkin’s lymphoma the cancer will affect one lymph node after another. In non-Hodgkin’s tumors appear in different lymph nodes, and it can skip some nodes. To check lymphoma a doctor will asses with a physical examination of areas in the chin, neck, tonsils, shoulders, abdomen, elbows, and groin for lymph nodes. 


TYPICAL CAUSES: The causes for lymphoma are unknown. However, those that are susceptible to lymphoma are in their 60s or older, male, have a weak immune system from AIDS, organ transplant, or born with an immune disorder, have rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, or celiac disease. 


IMPLANTS AND LYMPHOMA:  With more research, the causes of lymphoma have become more defined and the FDA has learned that breast implants are associated with the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma which is a rare non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Both silicone and saline are implants have been reported to cause lymphoma. The cancer has been reported more often in patients with textured implants as opposed to smooth ones. The symptoms that may occur are lumps, swelling, and asymmetry in the breasts; however, it has been noted that asymmetry and swelling can be linked to other types of infections. Those who have implants should continue with regular follow-ups. If there are cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma thought to be linked to breast implants it should be reported to The Plastic Surgery Foundation’s website to track these cases and have a better understanding of the role of the breast implants in the disease.



Kim Polacek


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

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