In March the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that a rare blood cancer first linked to breast implants in 2011 had also been associated with 9 deaths. More alarm was raised yesterday when an Australian report confirmed five more cases of blood cancer linked to breast implants, bringing the total to 51 women in the country, including three who have died.
Both the FDA and The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia have been monitoring the link between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, known as ALCL, a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, since 2011 when warnings of an association were first raised.
Noticeable in the FDA report was that the problem is more likely to occur with textured implants than with smooth implants. Of the 359 reported cases, 231 included information about the implant surface: 203 were textured, and 28 smooth. The contents of the implants appeared less significant: Of 312 cases where the contents were known, 186 were filled with silicone gel, and 126 with saline.
The FDA is still collecting data and says, “All of the information to date suggests that women with breast implants have a very low but increased risk of developing anaplastic large-cell lymphoma compared to women who do not have breast implants,” However the Australian TGA appears more concerned and has estimated the risk of developing anaplastic large-cell lymphoma to be between 1-in-1,000 and 1-in-10,000 in women with breast implants.
While the FDA claims the risk is still too low to recommend women have their breast implants removed. It has also announced that women receiving implants should be aware of the potential problem and the increased risk with textured implants.
At Saunders & Walker we continue to represent consumers harmed by defective products and medical devices will continue to monitor developments in cancer cases linked to breast implants. If you feel you or a loved one might have suffered injury or death as a result of a defective medical device, please call us for a free consultation.
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