Recalled Breast Implants Lead to Cancer Concerns Among Women With Textured Devices

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

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Following an Allergan textured breast implant recall issued last year, women nationwide have continued to face growing concerns over their future risk of cancer if they previously underwent breast enhancement or reconstructive surgery.

Allergan removed all breast implants containing its Natrelle and Biocell lines of microtextured surfaces, after the FDA confirmed that the design was linked to nearly all cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which is a rare type of cancer that may develop in the tissue surrounding the device.

In the following months, women nationwide have been contacting their plastic surgeons to inquire about removing the breast implants, only to discover that Allergan is not agreeing to cover the cost of replacement surgery, leaving most with the textured implants in their body, where they face a continuing risk that cancer may develop.

According to some local media reports, part of the problem is that many women do not know what type of breast implant was used, so they must find their paperwork or contact their original implanting surgeon to verify which design was used.

In many cases, women received the recalled breast implants after mastectomies they underwent while fighting against breast cancer. They now face concerns that getting breast reconstruction has left them vulnerable to cancer yet again.

Following the recall, the magazine Allure published a guide to the breast implant recalls, which addresses both concerns over the recalls, as well as growing concerns over a battery of health problems some recipients and researchers are beginning to associate with breast implants, known collectively as breast implant illness.

The recall does not address breast implant illness, nor has the FDA confirmed that such a syndrome exists. However, the first studies into it are beginning to get underway. In the meantime, tens of thousands of women have formed Facebook groups and other organizations to seek answers and support each other.

Breast Implant Cancer Concerns

Last year’s recall came after a long history of questions over whether there was a direct link between breast implants and lymphoma that developed in the surrounding tissue.

Although earlier recalls were issued in Canada, France, Australia and other countries, Allergan continued to sell the Biocell breast implants in the United States.

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.

Another study, published in October 2017, warned that many breast implant cancer cases worldwide have likely not been reported, and noted that doctors and patients may not be aware of BIA-ALCL.

The FDA is not currently recommending that women have the breast implants removed if they are showing no symptoms. Instead, the regulators recommend recipients of these implants become familiar with the symptoms of BIA-ALCL, including persistent swelling or pain near the implant, and talk to their health care provider for further information. Those with BIA-ALCL should undergo breast implant removal and removal of the surrounding scar capsule.

The agency also recommends those who receive breast implants keep a record of the device manufacturer, unique device identifier and implant model name, which may have been provided on a patient device card from the surgeon.

The recall increased the number of breast implant cancer lawsuits filed against Allergan by women throughout the United States, including class action lawsuits for medical monitoring.

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  1. Victoria Reply

    I had Allergan Smooth 20,s and they were ruptured, I had them removed last July. At almost 8 weeks my left Breast blew up and spent the next 6 months with Drs playing games when I knew something was terribly wrong well finally just in Feb a Doctor agreed to do a Punch biopsy because I was not doing well and the Biopsy came back with Squamous Cell Carcinoma which according to her was a Cancer I need to see a skin doctor for. Well I provided her with much medical literature that shows this is a cancer that has been being diagnosed with many women that had implants it is very rare but it is very lethal she refused to do any further testing to see if it had metastasized and told me me to see a skin doctor well then as you’re aware we went into lockdown because of Covid and we were not allowed to make any appointments That weren’t life-threatening in order to follow up with any doctor. But because of the lockdown and my husband‘s lack of income for months I lost my insurance on April 1 I am progressively getting worse now I have no means to even follow up with any doctor and as I mentioned the doctors in my network that I had obviously are ignorant so here I sit with aggressive cancer which absolutely was caused by my ruptured implants and I’m dying because I can’t even go to the doctor because of no insurance now to find out what stage it is that or even if it’s metastasized which based on how I’m feeling how much weight I’ve lost and the condition I’m in it’s not good. And this isn’t to mention that the doctor that took out the implants which was a plastic surgeon she said she wasn’t qualified when I first started having the problem right after the surgery to try to figure out what was wrong to begin with and during The course of trying to get help I found out that she had left parts of a capsule in my breast from previous set that she was aware of prior to doing my explant and on the other breast she destroyed it so bad it is completely deformed when she did the Enbloc. I had questioned her about that after the surgery and she said oh well give it some time and in fact it’s not good it cannot be repaired I mean that is the least of my worries but between the doctors ignoring my pleas for help then getting results that prove I have cancer to telling me that it’s a skin cancer which clearly is also found in the breast With so many cases now Which I can give you numerous medical documents of cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the breast from implants. I can’t even save my life because I lost my insurance on top of It. I know that this cancer is spread I just know it has and I need help ! Please I am just trying to save my life this is all so wrong it’s the exact same chemicals same toxic crap in every single one of the products it’s not just because of the textured shelves that people get cancer from these and they know it do you should not even be allowed in the human body and I think I deserve to have someone be responsible for this I didn’t do this to myself can you please help me?

  2. Marianne Reply

    I had a double mastectomy in September 2014 with reconstructive surgery in December 2014. My doctor used Allergan Natrelle implants. During the time the implants were in, they didn’t appear to be adhesive in any way. I would lie on my side and they would move. There was continuous pain on both sides. They even appeared to harden at times. I had an appointment to see my OB doctor for an annual exam and coincidentally i received a letter from Allergan regarding the recall. My doctor requested removal immediately. The implants were removed in November 2019. I am now left with two caved in craters in my chest where the implants were. Its very difficult to grasp reality and accept my new appearance. I am relieved the implants are gone and I am no longer at risk of getting cancer again. I relied on Allergan to provide a quality and safe implant to assist with replacing my removed breasts and feel some type of normalcy. I have been through so much pain, agony, time loss from work, physical, mental and emotional stress. This is so very terrible and I hope and pray no other woman has to endure my pain.

  3. Mary Reply

    I had textured inplants put in 2007 after having my 4th child. This surgery was part of a mini mommy makeover performed by a reputable plastic surgeon. My health issues/ symptoms did not start until 2015 maybe 2016 which included rash, body aches, brain fog joint pain and severe depression and fatigue. I started with bloodwork which proved severe hormonal imbalance. I was congratulated with the words “you’re in menopause” oh and “we need to test you for Hashimoto’s or possible lupus”. What. No one I mean no one in my family has any history let alone similar health issues. I started thyroid HRT medicine which alleviated some symptoms but not most. In fact some were getting worse. My blood work continued to be inconsistent one sec I have thyroid disease and no estrogen and the next the opposite. It was infuriating. So I joined BII group on FB 2018 to ask questions and find out who if any had similar problems. I was shocked and relieved to find so much commonality. I decided to explant in 8/2019. After the surgery by the same kind Plastic surgeon he told be my inplants were ruptured and possibly this way for 3+ years. I’m am still visiting doctors, getting blood work, to find the right method/ dosages and PTs for all the joint aches that turned to excruciating pain. I’m depleting my savings especially during this pandemic time that doesn’t allow me to work. I’m beyond frustrated. But I don’t have anymore energy to fight the fight except with my current prescription of HRTS, PT some diet changes and exercise. I’m already to tired to continue to type so goodbye.

  4. Rena Reply

    I had textured implants from 1999-2011. The smooth implants were put in 2011 & still in now. This week I am starting my journey in testing for Implant related lymphoma & getting the explant surgery scheduled. I have all the symptoms of the lymphoma and signs that it has possibly spread throughout my body. Not to mention the hundreds of symptoms associated with breast implant illness. I’m having trouble placing a lawsuit against Alleran since those were taken out in 2011. But I’m still sick and they were in me for 12 years, so I feel like I should be able to still have grounds for a lawsuit! I am concerned about the right testing getting done as I am finding that so many doctors and pathologist don’t really know how to test for this type of cancer. Long journey ahead trying to avoid covid-19 as well.

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