Breast Implant Lymphoma Risk Results in Warning from Surgeon to Patients

Following recent warnings about a potential link between certain breast implants and cancer, a number of surgeons are warning women to be on alert for potential symptoms of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Earlier this year, the FDA issued warnings about breast implant lymphoma risks, indicating that the agency was aware of at least 359 medical device reports involving women diagnosed with the rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, including at least nine deaths.

After Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) launched an effort to monitor for cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) from breast implants, the number of identified cases in that country more than doubled, increasing the level of concern among doctors and patients worldwide.

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Women may face a risk of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) from certain breast implants.

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There is little known about the cause of the breast implant lymphoma, but investigators have noted that the risk seems higher among women with breast implants that have a textured surface, which may be causing chronic inflammation and immune system reactions, leading to the development of lymphoma in the fluid around the breast implant.

Earlier this month, 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.

Due to the potential lymphoma risk with breast implants, health officials have made efforts to increase awareness among doctors, not only encouraging them to discuss the benefits and risks before breast augmentation or reconstructive surgery, but also to be on the look out for signs or symptoms of breast implant anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Symptoms of the cancer linked to breast implants may first appear as pain or a lump in the breast or armpit, typically occurring after the surgical incision has fully healed, with most cases diagnosed 8 to 10 years after the breast implants are received.

According to a recent media report by Fox 11 in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon Dr. John Anastasatos is among the growing number of doctors informing past and present patients about the importance of being on the look out for breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Dr. Anastasatos is recommending that patients with breast implants look for masses, rippling, swelling or changes in volume, suggesting that they should get an MRI every two to three years, especially if they have textured implants.

As researchers continue to evaluate the specific cause of the breast implant lymphoma problems, many women are raising serious questions about why certain products appear to be more likely to be associated with the development of cancer, and how manufacturers failed to address potential design defects earlier.

Product liability lawyers are reviewing potential breast implant lymphoma lawsuits for women diagnosed with this rare cancer that develops in the tissue surrounding the implant.

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