Recently, the FDA updated its warning about the dangers associated with breast implants. Women with symptoms of breast implant illness are now turning to social media to share their stories and encourage others with symptoms to have their implants removed.
FDA Warnings Prompting Women to Check Their Symptoms
Back in 2011, the FDA issued the first ever warning that breast implants may cause a rare type of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). In early 2019, the FDA updated this warning, announcing that at least 457 women in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ALCL. Sadly, nine of these women have died.
Understandably, the public has become increasingly concerned about the link between breast implants and health. Women with breast implants have reported several negative symptoms of a sickness called breast implant illness.
Though we don’t know much about the illness, experts suggest that it may involve the immune system’s inflammatory response to implants. A large study conducted in 2018 revealed that silicone breast implants are associated with connective tissue diseases, autoimmune disorders and other health conditions.
The symptoms of breast implant illness include:
- Brain fog
- Muscle and joint pain
- Hair loss
- Skin problems, such as rashes and acne
- Cognitive issues
Breast Implant Illness Awareness
Public awareness about the adverse health effects of breast implants is growing. The issue has received notable media attention as women all over the globe are coming forward with similar symptoms. At least 10 million women in the world have breast implants, so the possibility that these implants can make people sick is causing widespread concern.
Some people have started Facebook and Instagram pages, hoping to spread the word about breast implant sicknesses to as many women as possible. Over 50,000 women have shared their symptoms with these groups. This number continues to grow as more women find their way to these support pages.
Women Are Sharing Their Stories
Many women who get explants (implant removal surgery) share their stories through social media posts. By posting pictures to Instagram, women are showing off their removed implants, proudly displaying their scars and sharing their struggles with the world. Women are hoping to reach and inspire others who may be facing similar symptoms.
At the time of writing, there are over 25,000 Instagram posts on #breastimplantillness.
No one told these women that their implants could make them sick and many feel rightfully betrayed. The growing awareness is providing hope and relief to people who have been suffering an array of health problems for years.
Before learning about breast implant sicknesses, most women had no idea that breast implants were causing their health problems. Crystal Hefner, for example, was diagnosed with both Lyme disease and toxic mold syndrome before discovering that her symptoms closely matched those of sicknesses related to breast implants.
Breast Explant Posts Save Lives
The breast explant posts on social media have empowered several other women to have their implants removed. These brave women are saving lives—not only by educating others on the risk of life-threatening cancer but also by freeing women from persistent illness.
As people continue to share the health and happiness they have found after explant surgery, more and more women are learning how to find relief.
While these social media posts focus on illness symptoms, they also raise awareness of BIA-ALCL, urging women to get tested. When treated early, this rare form of cancer has very high survival rates. Educating women with breast implants on the risk of cancer can help them get early treatment and ensure a successful recovery.
Improved Symptoms After Explants
In the explant posts, women are raving about how much better they feel with their implants gone. Many women notice relief from their symptoms just a couple of days after their explant surgery. Most people see a difference after a couple of weeks.
One study found that 89% of women who had explant surgery reported that their symptoms improved, even if they had implants for over 10 years.
After explant surgery, women have reported relief from mental fog, joint pain, headaches, bloating, anxiety and tension. Women also notice that their skin clears up and their complexion appears brighter. One of the most common improvements is that women are able to breathe more easily than they could before surgery.
No one should have to live with a preventable and curable sickness. If you’re experiencing breast implant illness, talk to your doctor about explant surgery. It’s also a good idea to get screened for cancer whether you have symptoms or not. If you receive a BIA-ALCL diagnosis, contact Breast Implant Cancer Advocates to get the support you deserve.
“Crystal Hefner Shares The Health Problems Breast Implants Can Pose” Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2016/07/24/crystal-hefner-shows-why-you-shouldnt-get-breast-implants/#1eabb5f11c45. Accessed on March 21, 2019.
“Breast Implant Illnesses: What’s the Evidence?” National Center for Health Research. Retrieved from http://www.center4research.org/breast-implant-illnesses-whats-evidence/#controversy. Accessed on March 21, 2019.
“FDA reports additional cases of cancer linked to breast implants” CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/07/health/fda-lymphoma-linked-to-breast-implants/index.html. Accessed on March 21, 2019.
“Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/implantsandprosthetics/breastimplants/ucm239995.htm. Accessed on March 21, 2019.