Women with breast implants have an increased risk of getting a rare type of lymphoma, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology.
But the overall chance of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a cancer of the immune system cells, as a result of having a breast augmentation is relatively low.
The heightened risk sounds alarming at first — researchers found that those with implants are 421 times more likely to develop this specific cancer than those without implants — but the number of women who actually get the disease after getting implants is still small.
About one in every 35,000 women who has a breast enhancement will develop ALCL by age 50 — a very small number considering that only about 4% of women in the U.S. go under the knife for this procedure, according to the statistical analysis site FiveThirtyEight.
“Women should not panic,” the study’s lead author Daphne de Jong told Newsweek, “but they should be aware of it.”
Plus, the study was conducted in the Netherlands, where 45% of implants are textured, the authors said, and 82% of the women with this type of lymphoma had textured implants. Here in the U.S., a smoother, different type of implant is usually used.
ALCL is also very rare in general. Only about 4% of all diagnosed cancers in the U.S. are non-Hodgkin lymphomas, according to the National Cancer Institute.