There are a number of breast implant patients who have developed a rare blood cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating reports that link breast implants with cancer. There are currently more than 400 reports about patients who developed ALCL after getting implants, including nine who died.
Women may choose to get breast implants for breast reconstruction after mastectomy or for cosmetic reasons. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 400,000 breast implant procedures took place in 2017.
The initial signs of ALCL often present as an infection known as breast mastitis. Major itching, pain, and swelling are present. Breast-implant-associated ALCL was first identified in 1997. It can take about 10 years to develop after the implant goes in. It usually stays around the implant but can break out and spread.
The FDA believes that textured breast implants may be more likely to cause ALCL; however, smooth implants are also linked to an increased risk. While plastic surgeons prefer the textured implants because they reduce the risk of capsular contracture, they may increase the risk of cancer because they are less likely to move around inside the breast. It’s currently speculated that the chance of breast implant-associated ALCL ranges from 1 in 3,817 to 1 in 30,000.
Breast implant manufacturers are required to report issues associated with the medical devices to the Manufacturers and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database; however, the issues were being reported in bulk. This means that one report could stand in for thousands. This severely limited the public’s ability to determine how many people actually developed cancer. As a result, in 2017, the FDA made the manufacturers go back and file individual reports in each case of patient injury.
A number of breast implant patients-turned-health advocates visited Washington D.C. in September 2018 to lobby the FDA for more stringent regulation, testing, and reporting on breast implants. They also requested that all types of textured implants be banned from the market. The FDA has scheduled a committee hearing for early 2019 on breast implant safety to address the concerns and determine whether additional actions are needed to protect public health.
If you believe you are facing the consequences of a medical error that should have been prevented by your doctor, our Louisville medical malpractice lawyers are prepared to investigate your claim. You may be eligible for compensation that can assist with the costs associated with your injury or condition. For more information on your legal rights and options, get in touch with us.