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A Tennessee woman has filed a product liability lawsuit that indicates Allergan McGhan breast implants caused cancer to develop in the tissue surrounding implant, known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Kimberly Matthews last month in the Superior Court of New Jersey, naming Allergan and Inamed Corporation as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Matthews was implanted with McGhan Style 468 Saline-Filled breast implants in 2004 as part of breast augmentation surgery. In October 2017, she noticed her inguinal lymph nodes were enlarged, and the next month a PET scan indicated she had hypermetabolic activity within a left anterior chest wall mass.
In December 2017, Matthews was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that develops in the tissue surrounding certain types of implants. BIA-ALCL is a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and a growing body of research suggests that certain large surface area, textured implants may increase the risk.
As a result of the breast implant cancer, Matthews had to undergo a procedure to shrink the tumor, which had infiltrated her chest wall and left ribs, before the implant could be removed in July 2018. She underwent five weeks of radiation therapy to get rid of the rest of the tumor, the lawsuit indicates.
“At the time the McGhan implants were placed into Kimberly Mathews’s body, she was not advised, nor did she have any independent knowledge, that the Products were anything other than safe, life-long products. Nor was she advised that the product was associated and/or known to cause BIA-ALCL and that she would require future surgery and treatments,” the lawsuit states. “Had Kimberly Mathews been advised that implantation was associated with even the slightest risk of developing ALCL and/or BIA-ALCL she would not have proceeded with implantation of the Products.”
Breast Implant Cancer Warnings
On January 26, 2011 the FDA first released a report about case studies and epidemiological research that suggested there was a link between breast implants and ALCL.
The agency then issued a statement about emerging information on the breast implant lymphoma problems last year, and a number of subsequent studies have confirmed that the breast implant ALCL cancer risk is real.
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 Surgery 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.
In March 2018, the FDA indicated that it was aware of more than 400 cases of breast implant-related cancer. As more information becomes public about the breast implant cancer cases, experts have warned that the number of cases reported will likely increase significantly.
As regulators and researchers worldwide continue to evaluate the specific cause of the breast implant lymphoma problems, other women are also 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 in the U.S. are now reviewing other potential breast implant cancer lawsuits against Allergan and other manufacturers, for women diagnosed with the ALCL in recent years.