Experienced Injury Attorneys Representing Women with Textured Breast Implants Who Developed Lymphoma
Legal help for women across the nation facing cancer caused by defective breast implants
Regardless of whether you have undergone breast augmentation surgery for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes, you most certainly had an expectation that the procedure and the breast implant device would be safe. The thought that several months or several years later you would be suffering from a deadly disease – cancer – as a result of your implants, never crossed your mind, even once.
Sadly, this is the plight of many women across the nation and around the world. Over recent years, research has increasingly shown that breast implants in women, and more particularly textured breast implants, are linked to the development of a rare form of lymphoma.
Facing a cancer diagnosis is difficult on its own. You need to focus on getting better and not have the distraction of legal issues clouding your mind at the same time. With experienced breast implant attorneys working on your behalf, you can set aside the financial concerns and complications of dealing with a legal claim. We will handle everything for you.
Our seasoned personal injury attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC have a strong reputation for delivering big results for injured clients in mass tort cases. Find out what we can do for you. To set up a free case evaluation, call our team at 803-327-7800 or complete our contact form.
The issue with breast implants and lymphoma
Breast implants are considered a prosthetic medical device implanted into the body during surgery in order to modify the shape or size of the female’s breasts. Implants are manufactured with either silicone gel or saline solution.
The evidence of a link between breast augmentation and the risk of developing a particular form of cancer has increased in recent years. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has now received hundreds of incident reports pointing to the diagnosis of a rare form of cancer in women who have received breast implants.
The specific medical term for this form of cancer is: breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma – or, BIA-ALCL.
Textured breast implants and the development of BIA-ALCL
Research now points to the assertion that the risk of cancer associated with breast implants hinges on a specific type of implant the woman receives. The data indicates that cases of breast implant associated lymphoma are linked to the use of textured breast implants versus implants with smooth surfaces. The textured surface of these implants is designed to help them remain in position. In most cases, women who have had these breast implants for between 2 to 28 years (a median of 8 years) have developed BIA-ALCL. This conclusion is backed up by a January 2017 study which indicated that the occurrence of ALCL in breasts having textured implants is 67.6 times greater than the occurrence in breasts without these implants.
As of September 2017, the FDA reported that of the 414 medical device reports the agency received:
- 242 cases were linked to textured implants
- 30 cases are linked to smooth implants
- 179 cases involved saline solution implants
- 234 cases involved silicone gel implants
The type of filling contained within the implants (silicone or saline), as evidenced from the data above, do not appear to influence the development of BIA-ALCL.
Medical experts have theorized that textured implant surfaces inflame and irritate the surrounding tissue. The medical literature suggests that the textured surface of the implants leads to abrasion and inflammation within the body which in turn leads to the development of cancer.
Symptoms of breast implant cancer
Some of the specific symptoms of ALCL to remain aware of include:
- Lumps that form in the breast
- Pain around the implant or in the breast
- Asymmetrical or misshapen breast appearance
- Breast swelling
- Buildup of fluid in or around the breast
If one or more of these symptoms manifest, it’s important to get checked immediately. Other possible symptoms of breast implant lymphoma include:
- The skin turning red around the breast
- Hardening of the surrounding tissue or the implant itself
- Enlarged her swollen lymph nodes (particularly in the groin, armpit, or neck areas)
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the back, chest, or abdomen
- Inexplicable weight loss
If you do have ALCL, the sooner you receive a proper diagnosis from your doctor, the better your prognosis in terms of addressing the disease at the earliest stage possible.
Detecting breast implant cancer
When a woman notices any of the symptoms mentioned above, the doctor can proceed with testing for ALCL. This begins with collecting samples of the fluid buildup that often manifests as a symptom. The fluid is tested for the presence of malignant T-cells.
Other tests used to diagnose non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:
- Chest x-rays
- Standard physical exams
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
- Ultrasound imaging tests
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
What the FDA knew
As soon as 2011, the FDA became aware that textured breast implants were responsible for the development of cancer in women. The agency issued a warning in January of that year, notifying the medical community about the connection between breast plants and the rare form of cancer – BIA-ALCL. At that time, they indicated there was an elevated risk of cancer for women with breast implant devices.
However, at that time the FDA cited the incompleteness of the data to justify the need to continue investigating the potential link between the rare form of lymphoma and breast implants. The warning provided by the agency at that time gave breast implant recipients the assurance that no follow-up routine changes or implant removal was required. The conclusion at the time was that the cancer was rare, but could potentially develop in patients with implants.
In the intervening years between 2011 and 2017, the dozens of initial cancer incident reports from women and their doctors increased to hundreds. Continued evaluation has revealed additional evidence of a distinct connection between textured breast implants and the development of BIA-ALCL.
The multiplication of lymphoma incident reports created enough concern that the FDA issued an updated assessment in 2017 agreeing with the conclusions of the World Health Organization designation of BIA-ALCL as a rare T-cell lymphoma with the potential to develop with breast implants.
At this time the FDA indicated it would continue to examine medical device reports and other medical data and literature as well as collaborate with health experts and international regulators to gain further understanding regarding the issue.
If you have received a diagnosis of BIA-ALCL, our dangerous medical device attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder are here for you. We have extensive experience securing substantial resolutions for our clients. Our team is committed to fighting on your behalf for the compensation you are owed, for your injuries, pain and suffering, and financial losses. To set up a free, initial consultation about your case, call our legal team today at 803-327-7800 or send us a request through our contact form.