Breast surgeon discusses cancer case that "surprised" him as FDA assesses implant risk

The FDA meets Tuesday for a second day. to treat the possible risks of breast implants after the agency announced last fall that 457 cases of cancer had been detected in women with breast implants. Some women with textured implants develop a type of cancer called lymphoma. It was thought that it was easy to cure him, but the case of a Texan woman raises new questions about the potential death of this cancer.

Sandra Rush is a grandmother who had breast implants for more than two decades without problems until April 2017. What her doctor first thought was an infection current, has turned out to be cancer.

"My left breast started to swell and there was a hardness inside," Rush told Anna Werner, of CBS News, which reports on this issue since 2017. "I was really in shock, I could not – I could not. do not believe it. "

This is what is called anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants, a rare cancer that, according to the FDA, can develop after breast implants. Most women with this cancer, like Rush, have what's called textured breast implants, which have a rougher surface designed to limit the movement of an implant, but which can also be at least Origin of cancer. One of the theories is that the rough surface of the implant irritates and ignites the tissues.

Reports to the FDA show that out of 457 cases of cancer, at least 310 have occurred with textured implants. Most women are cured after the doctors have removed the implants, but in the case of Rush, after her implants were removed and she had a breast reconstruction, she developed a strange jaw pain . The doctors did another test.

"It showed that he had metastasized all over my body," Rush said. "I was in total shock, I was in complete shock."

She was not the only one. Breast surgeon Elisabeth Potter is Rush's doctor.

"When I had the pathology report, I was surprised, I actually thought it was incorrect," Potter said. "I read it and read it again."

The cancer had moved beyond the area of ​​the implant into its tissues and bones. It was something that Potter "had never heard of".

"I did not expect it, I did not learn it could happen," she said.

Not only was Rush's cancer not easily curable – it could kill her. Potter says that it took five cycles of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant for Rush to go into remission.

"We have seen something new in breast implant-related cancer, and I just want to pay attention to it," said Dr. Potter.

The country's three largest breast implant manufacturers – Allergan, Sientra and Mentor – told CBS News that textured implants had been subjected to extensive safety testing and that they were consistent with the surveillance of the FDA and that patient safety was their number one priority. Mentor says the risk of cancer is rare with his implants.

But that's not enough for Dr. Potter. She said that she will not use them anymore because they are not doing what she calls her "sister test" practice. If you do not give it to your sister, you should not give it to your patients.

Dr. Potter is now specializing in the use of woman's belly fat to rebuild a new breast, instead of using implants. If a patient wants a non-textured implant, she will provide it, but she said, "The power must be in the hands of the woman, give her the information and let her choose … This implant has a plus. Great risk.Do you want to know it in your body? It's as simple as that. "

Last month, her oncologist reported an irreproachable health condition, but regretted the day she decided, nearly a quarter of a century ago, that she needed to have a baby. 39 breast implants.

"I think women are sort of conditioned in their minds, you know, they want to look in some way because that 's the way you should look … Like me, I mean, I paid for that, more than one way. "

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