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Healthy Living / Dear Pharmacist

Breast implants may be linked to lymphoma

By: Suzy Cohen / Guest Columnist
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Hundreds of thousands of women voluntarily opt for breast augmentation surgery. There are many reasons for that, and certainly women perceive the size and shape of their breasts to be a vital component of their femininity. 
Whether it’s for breast cancer reconstruction, or because you seek the “perfect” body, the addition of something foreign into your body will impact your immune system.
For sure, our country is a little obsessed with bust size. I wonder if most women would opt for it, if they knew they were risking perfect health, and possibly risking their life. 
I’m referring to women who do this for cosmetic purposes only today.
Many women who have undergone breast augmentation suffer in vague ways and get sick. They may not even relate their new problems to their breast implants, or deny it. 
For example, suddenly you feel fatigued, or get migraines or get frequent infections, depression, memory loss, joint pain, panic attacks, personality changes, Reynaud’s disease (fingers turning white), cognitive problems, brain fog, autoimmune disorders and new allergies. 
These may be symptoms that correlate with breast implant illness.
These new symptoms will get treated with a  handful of prescriptions. Within a few years, the patient is heavily medicated. Why? Because very few physicians will link the “breast implant illness” to the root of the current symptoms.
The health problems suffered could very well resolve themselves if the implants are removed.  I’ve seen this exact situation with two friends from Florida, both had implants for more than 20 years, and when both ladies surgically removed them, their health improved dramatically within a year. 
If you’d like more details, I have them. I’ll send you a more comprehensive version of this article if you sign up for my free newsletter at suzycohen.com.
New research from the Netherlands (Dutch) was just published in last month’s JAMA Oncology and it was very disheartening. Women with breast implants have a higher risk of developing a rare type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It’s called ALCL which stands for anaplastic large cell lymphoma. This is not breast cancer, it’s an immune system cancer.
The Netherland study found out that women with ALCL, were about 421 times more likely to have breast implants than women with other lymphomas in their breast.
If you’re noodling whether or not to get implants, my advice is don’t. It’s not because of the anaplastic large cell lymphoma risk, it’s more about the fact that your body isn’t equipped to deal with two foreign sacs in it, and at some point, the oxidative stress and immune dysfunction that results will never be worth it. 
If you could see your life in a crystal ball 20 years from now … see it with implants, and see it without them, that may sway your decision.
 
For more information on Suzy Cohen and her columns, see SuzyCohen.com