Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma: emotional impact and guidelines for psychological support

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: During the last two decades, the number of breast implants used in aesthetic, oncologic, and risk-reducing surgery has increased substantially mainly due to the improvement and confirmed safety of these devices. Since the identification of the first case of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with a breast implant (BIA-ALCL) 20 years ago, there has been an increase in the number of reports of this very rare disease, demonstrating a clear association with breast implants. While the majority of cases are localized and cured by implant removal and full capsulectomy, a small percentage require chemotherapy and the mortality rate is very low. Nevertheless, the evidence linking BIA-ALCL to implant surface texturing has raised concerns about the long-term safety of these devices resulting in patient and regulatory authority concerns globally. Methods and Results: In this commentary, we report the current debate on BIA-ALCL and the main European government’s actions, with a special focus on the emotional impact that media coverage has on cancer patients. We comment the emotional impact of such risk for patients with breast implant, the hard process of patient’s acceptance for mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, and how this is an essential part of recovery and return to the normal living for many women. Conclusion: We conclude by providing guidelines for patient–physician communication and patients’ psychological support on this topic of delicate actuality. Our contribution aims at guiding the medical community in managing risk communication about BIA-ALCL with a multidisciplinary approach, according to the most recently available published evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-224
Number of pages4
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020


  • Breast prostheses
  • Decision-making
  • Personalized medicine
  • Psychological support
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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