Breast implant complications are once again making news. Last week the FDA announced an increased risk of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) for women with breast implants. You may recall the previous cancer linked recalls from the early 1990’s of silicone breast implants. Silicone implants were thought to be linked to an increased risk of cancer however, in 2006 the FDA returned them to the market after definitive evidence of a link was not established. There has been backlash and criticism since that time. Even after being made available again, the FDA was warning women of the possible increased risk they faced for developing ALCL if they had breast implants.
The New Developments
This latest announcement from the FDA is the result of an increased number of reports of women with breast implants developing ALCL. Between summer 2010 and February of this year, 359 reports were logged, including nine (9) deaths. There are reports that state the cancer was diagnosed as early as 1996 in at least one case. The data is limited and the risk of developing this cancer is still considered to be very low. Surface type of the implant (smooth v. textured) and length of time that they are in the body also seem to be factors. Nearly 90% of women who provided data on the type of implants (203 of 231 reports) had textured surface implants. There were an almost identical number of filler solutions (silicone v. saline). While this cancer does occur in and around the breast(s), it does not fall under the category of “breast cancer.”
What Should I Do Now?
Currently there are no recommendations of removal for women who have no symptoms associated with this type of cancer. Those symptoms include:
- loss of appetite;
- night sweats; and/or
- weight loss.
If you experience any of the above symptoms and have breast implants, we would encourage you to consult with your doctor. Additional symptoms can include fluid buildup, swelling, pain or lumps. There is often resolution of the cancer once the implants are removed and, depending on the type of ALCL (cutaneous or systemic), other treatment options are available.
Here is a link to the FDA notice regarding these implants and what doctors and patients are advised to do should they notice anything suspect. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ALCL after receiving breast implants contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker for a free consultation and case evaluation.