In 2011, the FDA first announced a link between breast implants and Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, also referred to as Breast Implant Cancer or BIA-ALCL. BIA-ALCL is a Subsequently, there has been a consistent upsurge in the amount of studies related to this specific type of cancer, which occurs only in patients implanted with breast implants or tissue expanders.

Currently, there are hundreds of published articles as well as dozens of case reports concerning these types of breast implant injuries. The split is roughly 50/50 between patients who have had cosmetic breast augmentation and those who underwent postmastectomy reconstruction. According to September 2019 data from the US-FDA, roughly 84% of reported BIA-ALCL cases were connected directly with Allergan’s BIOCELL textured implants and tissue expanders.

Common Symptoms of Breast Implant Associated Cancer

The symptoms of BIA-ALCL typically develop years following the original placement of the breast implant (on average 7-10 years afterwards), however in some cases they may develop earlier. The shortest reported time before symptom presentation was only 2 months post implant.

The most common Breast Implant Cancer Symptom causing alarmed patients to return to their doctor is unilateral breast swelling, or the enlargement and tenderness of the breast—commonly presenting on one side—although this swelling has also been observed to occur in both breasts for some patients. This swelling is caused by the buildup of fluid and seroma cells around the breast implant capsule. Additional BIA-ALCL Symptoms include:

  • Lump(s) bordering the implant and/or a lump in the lymph node of the armpit
  • Lymphadenopathy – enlarged/swollen lymph nodes usually in response to infection
  • Skin rashes or irritation
  • B Symptoms – Fever, drenching night sweats, inadvertent weight loss of >10% of normal body weight over a period of 6 months or less.

Detecting Breast Implant Cancer

When BIA-ALCL is suspected, physicians should have comprehensive imaging (MRI or Ultrasound) to evaluate the fluid collection or any existing masses near the breast implant capsule. When anything more than minimal fluid collection is present, a fine needle aspiration will be needed to a fluid sample to test for CD30, as well as ALK. Any masses will need to be evaluated through a biopsy. Despite recent news regarding BIA-ALCL, some doctors are not yet fully educated on this textured breast implant disease. If your symptoms match those above, you may want to raise this possibility with your physician.

Treatment Options for Breast Implant Cancer

When the presence of Breast Implant Cancer is confirmed, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend surgical removal of both the implant as well as the entire capsule/surrounding scar tissue. Patients who do not have immediate removal of the implants/capsules following presentation develop recurrent BIA-ALCL, while those who undergo complete removal and capsulectomy are able to greatly increase their chances of remission. Chemotherapy may be needed in cases where the lymphoma has spread beyond the texture implant and capsule.

Breast Implant Cancer Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Breast Implant Associated Cancer or have received Allergan textured breast implants or tissue expanders, call the Willis Law Firm today. A board-certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer and member of the Texas State bar for over 35 years, Mr. Willis and his team are ready to assist you through the complicated process of evaluating your claim and protecting your legal rights. Call today for a completely cost-free and obligation-free consultation. You may also speak with a female legal professional if you feel more comfortable. With all of our clients, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will not pay anything unless we successfully recover in your favor.