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Breast Implants May Increase Risk of Lymphoma

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Aug 28, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently announced that a rare form of lymphoma, which refers to a cancer of the immune cells, is linked to breast implants. While researchers are unsure exactly what is causing the anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and whether or not a defective medical device or medical malpractice is to blame, more than 350 cases of the cancer have been reported in women with breast implants, and at least nine women have died from the cancer. If you have breast implants, here’s what you need to know about your risks–

The Risk Is Relatively Low

First off, it is important to note that while nine deaths is certainly significant – and nothing short of tragic for these individuals and their families – nine deaths from June 2010 to February 2017 is statistically a very, very”small number”, especially considering the thousands of women who get breast implants every year. According to an article published in LiveScience, a study assessing the correlation between lymphoma and breast cancer that was conducted in the Netherlands concluded that the risk is about one to three women per every million with implants per year.

The risk is greater in women who receive breast implants that have a textured, rather than a smooth, surface, according to data.

What Is Causing the Rare Form of Cancer?

As stated above, scientists aren’t sure exactly why women with breast cancer are more at risk of developing ALCL, although the answer likely has something to do with inflammation. Markers of chronic inflammation have been identified in the scar tissues of the breasts on affected women, and some scientists think that the chronic inflammation could trigger the cancer (inflammation is highly associated with other cancer types, too). The answer could also be bacterial, as bacteria on the surgical site could trigger an immune response.

Am I at Risk?

If you have breast implants, you may be worried that you are at risk of developing ALCL. While you should continue to see your doctor as normal, and receive any follow-up care for your breast implants that you would otherwise, you probably do not need to worry unless you notice any of the following, as published by The New York Times:

  • Breast swelling;
  • Fluid buildup;
  • Breast pain; or
  • Lumps.

Defective Medical Products and Malpractice Cause Patient Harm Every Year

Most people assume that when they seek any type of medical procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, the procedure is safe, and they won’t be harmed as a result of any medical devices that are implanted in the bodies, ranging from artificial hips to breasts. Unfortunately, medical devices are often created in a manner that is unsafe for patient use, and surgeries may be rushed or performed negligently, increasing the risk for infection or other complication.

If you have developed ALCL as a result of breast implants and have questions about your legal options, we urge you to contact our experienced Philadelphia medical device litigation attorneys. Our team is here to advocate for you!

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