On July 24, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a recall of certain breast implants which may have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.
The regulatory agency took action to protect patients from a serious risk of contracting a life-threatening form of cancer that involves immune system cells, and requested Allergan, the manufacturer, to withdraw their products from the market as soon as possible.
Other countries such as Canada and France have already banned some of these implants, while Australia is taking recall in consideration.
Why were the breast implants recalled?
The FDA warned a broad range of health care professionals against using textured breast implants such as those manufactured by Allergan.
The regulator had identified a potential association between these implants and a specific type of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) back in 2011 already, but the information was not sufficient to issue a recall.
In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) provided a better overview of the issued and designated a condition known as breast-implant associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL), providing reliable evidence about the link between this disease and textured implants.
What is breast-implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)?
BIA-ALCL isn’t breast cancer, so there’s still no evidence that links breast implants with breast cancer.
However, this malignancy is no less deadly. In fact, it is a T-cell lymphoma – a type of cancer that targets cells of the immune system. It apparently originates within the scar tissue that surrounds the implant.
After these devices are placed, scar tissue begins to accumulate, forming a fibrous capsule that separates is from nearby human tissues.
Since this tissue is home to a chronic inflammatory process, researchers found that BIA-ALCL may develop here. In particular, textured breast implants have an uneven surface that prevents them from moving around in the chest cavity.
However, this roughness promotes adherence to living tissues, further exacerbating the reaction which may lead to cancer.
How can you tell if you got BIA-ALCL?
If you have been implanted with an Allergan textured breast implant, there’s a chance you developed BIA-ALCL.
However, in some instances, it has been reported that even patients who had a smooth implant later developed this type of cancer.
So far, the number of people who have been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL has reached a total of 572 cases. Early symptoms include local swelling around the breasts, skin rashes, lumps in the armpits, pain, or changes in the appearance or texture of your breasts.
A doctor may require you to take several tests such as biopsies, MRIs or other types of medical imaging tests.
If you have been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL or other forms of cancer after receiving a breast implant, you should seek compensation as soon as possible.
There are several ongoing mass torts filed against breast implant manufacturers – filing a lawsuit may be your only chance to find the justice you deserve.