A rare type of cancer linked to breast implants is much more common than previously thought, health authorities have revealed.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration said as many as one in 1,000 Australian women who get breast implants will develop Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL).
Health authorities and surgeons had believed the risk was somewhere between one in three million and one in 50,000.
The TGA now estimates the risk ranges between one in 10,000 and one in 1,000.
Forty-six cases have been diagnosed in Australia and New Zealand.
But health authorities do not recommend removing implants as a preventative measure.
Instead, women should monitor their breasts for any changes and consult their surgeon if they have concerns.
Cancer linked to bacteria-contaminated implants
Breast implant-associated (BIA) ALCL is not breast cancer and is highly treatable with most cases, cured by removal of the implant and the capsule surrounding the implant.
The cancer is linked to bacteria-contaminated breast implants.
Associate professor Anand Deva, head of the discipline of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Macquarie University’s MQ Health, said if surgery was performed without proper infection controls, bacteria could enter the body, and slowly cause scar tissue to harden around the implants.
Over several years, the infection puts stress on the patient’s lymphatic system and in some cases triggers ALCL.
Professor Deva said textured implants, which are popular in Australia, are 70 times more likely to be contaminated because they are difficult to keep sterile during surgery.