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Despite mounting complaints raised by a growing number of women nationwide, federal regulators indicate they are not yet aware of any evidence linking cases of wide-ranging illnesses to breast implants.
In a report this week by THV11.com in Arkansas, problems experienced by women after receiving artificial breast implants were outlined, describing the seriousness of “breast implant illness”.
Women experiencing breast implant illness describe chronic side effects, such as fatigue, cognitive problems, muscle and joint pain, hair loss, infections, gastrointestinal problems, rashes and thyroid issues. In many cases, the problems have led women to have their breast implants removed, and concerns about the risk have become a factor many are questioning when deciding whether to undergo breast enhancement or reconstruction surgery.
While the FDA and the medical community have acknowledged the risk of breast implant ruptures and leaks, and, more recently, a form of lymphoma found to develop in the tissue surrounding breast implants, the larger breast implant syndrome risk has not yet been recognized.
According to a statement provided in the THV11.com report, the FDA indicates that with the exception of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), the agency does not have evidence that establishes a connection between breast implants and a wider range of illnesses.
A growing number of women and consumer groups are continuing to raise concerns about the issues, including the website BreastImplantIllness.com and a number of social media groups.
Most doctors still do not review the potential risk of breast implant illness with patients, since it is not a recognized medical condition and there have been no studies to establish that it exists. However, science often takes time to catch up with the fast pace of emerging health risks that may appear on the internet and social media.
Last year, the FDA issued warnings about breast implant lymphoma rates, long after concerns about the risks first emerged. A number of subsequent studies have confirmed that the cancer risk is real, and suggest that it may be linked specifically to the use of certain textured breast implants with larger surface areas.
In June 2017, a study published in the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery suggested that certain textured breast implants may increase the risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma anywhere from 10 to 14 times, when compared to smooth breast implants.
In October 2017, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Surgerywarned that many breast implant cancer cases worldwide have likely not been reported, and noted that many doctors continue to be unaware of the BIA-ALCL risk.
As awareness of the problem increases, many experts have warned that the number of diagnosed breast implant ALCL cancer cases is likely to increase. As a result of manufacturers’ failure to adequately research the risks associated with their devices, a number of women are now pursuing potential breast implant cancer lawsuits, and it is possible that breast implant illness claims may also be pursued if independent scientific evidence emerges to support the claims.