You may have heard about a recent study that shows that breast implants can be linked to an increased risk for developing a certain type of cancer. This is a relatively new finding that may potentially affect thousands of women across the nation. Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL, is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that can develop after receiving breast implants. If you have been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL after receiving breast implants, you likely have questions and concerns. To help clarify some of the information you’ve probably heard, we have put together a list of commonly asked questions about BIA-ALCL and its link to breast implants.
BIA-ALCL, which stands for Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, is a type of cancer that may develop around breast implants. Contrary to what it sounds like, BIA-ALCL isn’t a breast cancer, but rather a cancer that affects the immune system. When it is detected and treated early, BIA-ALCL is likely to be curable. However, when it is not identified and treated promptly, it can have devastating consequences, including death.
The most common symptom of BIA-ALCL is ongoing swelling and pain in and around the implant. Typically, the pain and swelling occurs several years after a woman receives a breast implant and any surgical pain has long since subsided. Upon examination, many cases of BIA-ALCL will have fluid that collects around the implant, and sometimes a palpable mass around the implant can be felt. Additionally, symptoms of BIA-ALCL may include:
Women who develop any of the above symptoms should go see their doctor right away. Doctors will perform a physical examination and patients who have BIA-ALCL symptoms will likely also have an ultrasound or MRI. These tests will show if there is a build-up of fluid or any lumps around the implant or in the lymph nodes.
If there is a mass or fluid, then a needle biopsy is typically performed. The specimen that is retrieved is tested by a pathologist to see if it is positive for BIA-ALCL.
While receiving a cancer diagnosis is certainly upsetting, BIA-ALCL is typically treatable and curable when it is discovered early. Treatment for this type of cancer usually follows these steps:
After BIA-ALCL has been addressed by one of the above methods, and the patient is cancer-free, they are typically required to have tests (PET/CT scans) routinely every three to six months for the next two years. Reoccurrence of BIA-ALCL is very rare when it is eradicated by surgery.
In February 2019, the FDA reported 457 instances of women who had undergone breast implant surgery and later developed BIA-ALCL. This type of cancer is not true breast cancer, but rather a cancer that develops and grows around the implant and the surrounding nodes and skin. Typically, with early detection, the implant and the surrounding capsule are removed, and chemotherapy and radiation are used as treatment. In about 90 percent of the cases of BIA-ALCL, the women were treated and were cancer-free three years afterwards. However, there have been nine deaths in the U.S. associated with the disease.
In the FDA report, it is indicated that it is mainly textured breast implants that are associated with BIA-ALCL, with over 87 percent of cases occurring in women with that type. The remaining cases occurred in women with breast implants that were smooth in texture. There was not a lot of difference in the findings regarding what the implants in the affected women were made of. Silicone gel implants accounted for about 60 percent of BIA-ALCL cases, while saline implants were found in 40 percent of the cases.
In the event that you are diagnosed with BIA-ALCL after having breast implant surgery, it’s important that you undergo the recommended medical treatment for the condition, as well as seeking help from an experienced product liability attorney.
At Ross Feller Casey, we have a proven reputation across the U.S. for winning record-setting recoveries. In fact, we have won $1 billion in the last five years alone for our seriously injured clients. The firm is the recognized leader in litigating BIA-ALCL lawsuits.
You may have a strong case in which you are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and pain and suffering. But your time to file a lawsuit is limited, so you should contact one of the BIA-ALCL lawyers at Ross Feller Casey now for a free case evaluation.
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