The FDA recently announced that more cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) in women who’ve gotten implants have been reported. In an update on their website the agency indicated the case count rose in the past year, to 414 cases from 359. The website reported that the number of deaths from BIA-ALCL, nine, has not changed.
This spike in cases has alarmed doctors and there have been suggestions that any woman considering implants do so with caution. BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer; rather, it’s a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that attacks the immune system. In 2016, the World Health Organization gave a specific cancer classification to forms of lymphoma that arise after the implantation of breast implants. The FDA concurred with the WHO findings and issued warnings that breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a rare T-cell lymphoma that can develop following breast implants. It has also suggested that BIA-ALCL occurs more frequently following implantation of breast implants with textured surfaces rather than those with smooth surfaces.
The surface of the implant seems to be the common denominator in BIA-ALCL cases. Preliminary research in the U.S and elsewhere indicates almost all recorded cases have been linked to implants with a textured or slightly roughened surface, rather than a smooth covering. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the lymphoma “appears to currently develop exclusively in women with textured implants.” One theory from a doctor in Australia is that the reason textured surface implants had a higher risk was because of their larger surface area. It is thought that these cancers are being caused by bacteria contamination on the surface of the implant, which dramatically increases the risk of ALCL.
Symptoms of the lymphoma usually include painful swelling and fluid buildup around the implant. Sometimes there are lumps in the breast or armpit. To make a diagnosis, doctors drain fluid from the breast and test it for a substance called CD30, which indicates lymphoma.
If you have experienced any abnormal symptoms associated with your breast implants please contact your physician immediately. At Saunders & Walker we will continue to monitor all developments in lymphoma cases linked to breast implants. We also continue to proudly represent people harmed by defective medical devices. If you feel you or a loved one might be at risk for breast implant-associated ALCL please call us for a free consultation.
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