The choice to get breast implants is a very personal decision. This decision can be part of the healing process after a mastectomy or can stem from a desire to build confidence in one's appearance. Regardless of the reasoning behind the decision, it is a fairly common one. Recent statistics show that approximately 400,000 women in the United States get breast implants every year.
There are some risks that come with this procedure, but it appears one risk may have been downplayed: the risk of developing cancer.
Can you get cancer from a breast implant? In some cases, the presence of an implant can result in the development of a rare form of cancer known as Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This type of cancer is not a form of breast cancer, but a type of lymphoma.
Although the exact cause of the cancer is not yet fully understood, it appears that the tissue surrounding the implant becomes irritated and inflamed. Data suggests that this is more likely to occur with implants that are textured as opposed to those that have a smooth surface. In some, this irritation eventually results in the development of cancer.
What are some common symptoms and treatments associated with BIA-ALCL? Symptoms can include swelling and pain in the area of the implant. The presence of lumps and asymmetry are also indicative of the disease.
The Food and Drug Administration released a publication addressing many of the concerns surrounding this disease. The agency notes that a blood test is available to determine if an individual is suffering from this disease. A recent piece in the New York Times also discussed this disease, noting that treatment generally involves removal of "the implant and the entire capsule of scar tissue around it." This process "often eliminates the lymphoma."
What if I am diagnosed with BIA-ALCL? It is important for those who are undergoing treatment for this disease to consider pursuing legal remedies. There are a number of different options. One involves a review of the level of care provided by the medical professionals who were approached during the initial diagnosis and treatment. If a failure to meet the expected standards is present, those professionals may be liable for any resulting injuries.
Another option involves potentially holding the manufacturer of the implant responsible. This requires many steps, including a review of the process used by the manufacturer to ensure that all safety standards were followed and that all information about a potential connection to this disease was disclosed.
Navigating these issues can be a complex process. An experienced attorney can take on this burden on your behalf, advocating for your interests so you can focus on healing.