Breast Implant-Related Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
BREAST IMPLANTS LINKED TO RARE FORM OF CANCER
Breast implants from several manufacturers have been linked to a rare and deadly form of cancer called Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). So far, one manufacturer, Allergen, has recalled certain textured breast implants at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Roughly 700 cases of BIA-ALCL have been reported worldwide resulting in at least 16 deaths.
In light of this information, experts fear that millions of women may not have been adequately warned of the potential risk of breast implant-related lymphoma and that many remain unaware of the disease’s existence
What is Breast Implant-Associated Cancer?
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) a is a rare form of cancer that is found in the scar tissue and fluid around breast implants. Despite its association with breast implants, BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer as breast cancer arises from breast tissue and BIA-ALCL arises from immune cells, specifically T-cells.
Currently, the causation of BIA-ALCL is still uncertain; however, medical researchers suggest it may be the result of a combination of textured breast implants, chronic infection, chronic inflammation, and genetic predisposition. To date, all cases of BIA-ALCL have been reported in women with textured implants or a history of textured implants.
Who Is At Risk of Breast Implant-Related Cancer?
Due to the strong correlations between BIA-ALCL and textured breast implants, it would appear that women with textured breast implants are most at risk. Studies on BIA-ALCL report that the relative risk of the disease with textured implants is 400 times greater compared to women without breast implants.
While textured implants are not generally favored in the US, only making up about 10-15% of breast implants performed in the United States, it is still estimated that there are 3 million women with textured implants living in the United States.
The disease usually presents itself 8 to 10 years after implantation and typically results in unilateral swelling and fluid collection (called a seroma) as well as asymmetry. Early symptoms may also include pain, rash, capsule contracture, and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes.
If detected in the early stages and treated in a timely manner, BAI-ALCL has a fairly low mortality rate. However, more advanced and aggressive cases of BAI-ALCL will require more systemic treatment with a mean survival of about 12 years.
Who Manufacturers Textured Breast Implants?
- Allergen Saline Filled Breast Implants – Initially approved in 2004, product labels did not contain a warning or even a mention of BIA-ALCL. The label has since been updated, but only lists the disease as “Other Adverse Events.”
- Allergen Natrelle Silicone Implants – Initially approved in 2009, product labels did not originally mention BIA-ALCL. The disease is now listed under “Other Adverse Events.”
- Allergen Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Silicone Implants – Initially approved in 2013, original labels did not contain an explicit warning, but did state the “Women with breast implants may have a very small but increased risk of developing ALCL.” The label has since been updated to be less dismissive. saying “If you have breast implants, you have a very small, but increased risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma or BIA-ALCL.”
- Mentor Saline Breast Implants – Initially approved in 2009, the original label did not contain a warning or mention of BIA-ALCL. Current labels have been updated to include the existence of BIA–
- Mentor MemoryGel Silicone Implant – Initially approved in 2009, the original label did not contain a warning or mention of BIA-ALCL. New labels contain confusing information, stating both that “there is no scientific evidence that silicone gel breast implants increase the risk of any kind of cancer in women” and “if you have breast implants, you have a very small but increased risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma or BIA-ALCL.”
- Mentor Memory Shape Silicone Implants – Approved in 2013, initial labels did warn under “Other Adverse Events” that the breast implants “may” increase the risk for BIA-ALCL. Current labels have updated the language to state that women with breast implants “have” and increased risk of BIA-ALCL.
- Sientra Silicone Breast Implants – Approved by the FDA in 2012, initial product labels listed the implants “may” increase risk for BIA-ALCL under “Other Adverse Events.” Current labels have updated the language to state that women with breast implants “have” and increased risk of BIA-ALCL.
How Do I Know If I Have Breast Implant-Associated Lymphoma?
The existence of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. Diagnosis generally involves an ultrasound to detect the presence of fluid around the implant (called a seroma) and fine needle aspiration of the fluid with histopathology – a microscopic examination of tissue in order to study the manifestations of disease.
If You Have Developed a Breast Implant-Related Illness or Cancer, Contact Thomas J. Henry
If you or a loved one have developed an illness such as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) after receiving breast implants, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced workplace injury attorneys have handled a multitude of on the job accidents resulting in severe injuries and illnesses.
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) can require years of treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation. Medical costs can start to pile up, making life that much more difficult for you and your family.
Let us help you and your family obtain the real results you deserve to compensate for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Contact Thomas J. Henry today if you have been diagnosed with a breast implant-related illness. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. We will provide you with a free case review and will take immediate action on your behalf.