Breast implants are not only used to help boost women’s self-esteem and make them feel better about themselves, but they are also used to help restore women to their natural shape after a mastectomy. These surgeries are also often done after breast cancer is found in the tissue. When that is the case, the removal of the breast is required to remove the cancerous cells. For all women that have ever had implant surgery, the news that some have been linked to a rare form of cancer is terrifying.
A recall has been issued by the company Allergen, and the recall applies to their BIOCELL textured breast implants. While these implants are very popular throughout the world, only approximately five percent of all women that have received breast implants in the United States have this specific type. Still, for those women that do, the news is extremely troubling.
The breast implants in question are macro-textured. Implants can be macro or micro textured at the surface level. These implants with larger depressions are the ones causing women’s health issues. Both saline and silicon implants are affected and have been recalled.
The problem, explains the FDA, is that cancer cells form in the fibrous scar tissue around the implant or within the fluid of the implant. This type of cancer is known as BIA-ALCL, which is rare and grows slowly. Although the site of the cancer cells is in the breast, it is not a type of breast cancer. Instead, it is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the immune system, starts in the area around the implant and can spread throughout the rest of the body through the lymph node system. The breast tissue itself may not be affected, but the area right around the implant, made up mostly of scar tissue from the initial surgery, can be where it starts.
Symptoms of this change can include pain or swelling around the implant, and this can be the first sign of a larger issue. Cancer development can also cause fluid build up within the breast, causing asymmetry that was not present before the implant surgery.
“Recalls, whether they are voluntary or not, do not protect manufacturers from releasing dangerous products onto the market,” says personal injury attorney Tim Miley of The Miley Legal Group. “Providing products to any woman that have the potential to cause cancer is simply not responsible. Any woman that has been negatively affected by these should know that they have the option of taking legal action to pursue compensation that can help with any injury or loss they have sustained.”
It has been noted, even by the FDA, that very few women with these implants will develop cancer as a result. For now, they have all been taken off the market, so women considering implants should not be concerned about them. Still, anyone with implants should always check them regularly to detect any changes early and have them looked at by a medical professional.