Breast implant–associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has entered the spotlight, as several high-profile media outlets have begun to relay the evolving science to the public. This study aimed to gauge the baseline knowledge and concern regarding BIA-ALCL among adult laywomen within the United States.
Mechanical Turk was used to survey 500 American women on self-reported demographics, prior experience with breast implants, and 11 questions regarding their knowledge and concern regarding BIA-ALCL. Responses were reviewed for quality control before study inclusion.
Overall, 12 percent of respondents had received breast implants and 73 percent knew someone with implants; 13.6 percent of respondents (including 51.7 percent of respondents with implants) had previously heard of BIA-ALCL. After providing information about its risk, 58.4 percent of respondents were still willing to receive a reconstructive implant and 45.8 percent a cosmetic implant; 35.8 percent reported they would be less likely to receive an implant. Of the respondents with breast implants, 66.7 percent reported some degree of concern regarding BIA-ALCL and 35.0 percent are strongly considering removing their implants. Those who had heard of BIA-ALCL consumed information from several sources, predominantly health professionals or media/health care blogs. Different sources of information were not associated with a respondent’s degree of concern.
Only a minority of American women have heard of BIA-ALCL and understand its association with breast implants. As plastic surgeons who perform breast reconstruction, we can promote the spread of information through the popular media and health care blogs to address this growing concern, particularly among women with existing breast implants.