Textured breast implants have been definitively linked to a form of lymphoma called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). According to a report on Vice News, while the problem has received increasing coverage over the last year, it has not been remotely contained. A new report from CBC says Health Canada has received, as of December, 106 reports describing this type of cancer, including both suspected and confirmed cases.
More Cases Reported
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that as of 2018, breast augmentation has been the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. Roughly 300,000 women nationwide undergo this procedure every year. The World Health Organization first classified BIA-ALCL as its own form of cancer in 2016. Since then, textured breast implants manufactured by pharmaceutical company Allergan were recalled from the European market in December 2018, banned in Canada in May and voluntarily recalled in August 2019 in the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration has said that patients with Allergan’s textured breast implants faced about six times the risk of BIA-ALCL compared to textured implants from other manufacturers marketing in the United States. The agency also warned that continued sale of these implants would likely cause “serious, adverse health consequences and potentially death from BIA-ALCL.” As of July 2019, there were 573 confirmed cases of this type of cancer worldwide with 33 deaths. However, the recent spike in cases in Canada suggests that the total number could be even higher.
BIA-ALCL is a rare type of lymphoma that can develop around breast implants. It occurs most frequently in patients who receive textured breast implants. It is important to understand that BIA-ALCL is a cancer of the immune system and not a type of breast cancer. As with most cancers, the prognosis improves when the cancer is detected early. Some of the common symptoms include breast enlargement, pain, asymmetry, lump in the breast or armpit, hardening of the breast or an overlying skin rash. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor right away for an evaluation.
If you or a loved one has received Allergan textured breast implants or other types of textured breast implants and have developed BIA-ALCL as a result, it is important that you contact an experienced product defect lawyer to better understand your legal rights and options. You may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of surgery, pain and suffering and emotional distress.