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Plastic Surgeons Trivialize Cancer in Implant Patients, Group Says

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2011

Wolfe's letter added that the webinar's instructors also stated that "surgery was curative."

In his letter to the FDA, Wolfe wrote, "Advising against the use of the words 'cancer,' or 'tumor,' stating that 'surgery is curative' when speaking to women are all strongly contradicted by evidence from the published cases."

Asked for a response, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ said the FDA's disclosure about such cases "is a matter of significant concern," and said that Wolfe took Haeck's comments "out of context and misconstrued.

"Far from intending to trivialize or minimize the issue, Dr. Haeck’s extemporaneous remarks were well understood by the physicians present to mean that the type of ALCL that has been observed in possible association with breast implants does not appear to have the malignant course of classic ALCL which is a systemic disease.

"To be clear, our position is and has always been that ALCL associated with breast implants is a serious, but an extremely rare condition. The specific nature of this condition is unclear and it is important that more research be conducted; however, it is clear that the condition is not breast cancer, and this was confirmed by the FDA in its announcement."

"The scientific evidence to date suggests that ALCL associated with breast implants is a clinically indolent disease that behaves similarly to cutaneous ALCL and will therefore only require surgical removal of the implant and capsule and appropriate clinical follow up."

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