Breast Implant Cancer Attorney | ALCL Lawsuit
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Many women do not know that having breast implants places them at an increased risk of developing cancer.
Currently, certain types of textured breast implants are being recalled because of their link to a rare form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized that breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma or BIA_ALCL, can develop following breast implant augmentation surgery. These findings have prompted several lawsuits filed by patients and their families.
The Carlson Law Firm has more than 40 years of experience amplifying the voices of those hurt by pharmaceutical manufacturer negligence. Our team of experts represents clients nationwide. If you need legal representation for your ALCL lawsuit, contact us to find out how we can help.
Breast augmentation is on the rise
Breast augmentation surgery has topped the list as the most common cosmetic procedure in the United States since 2006, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
In 2016 alone, surgeons performed close to 300,000 breast augmentations. In 2000, that number was 37% less, signaling an increased interest in breast augmentation surgery.
Silicone gel-filled breast implants may contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals that linger after the manufacturing process. Silicone implants referred to as “cohesive gel” and “gummy bear” also carry this risk. The most popular types of implants are:
- Allergan Natrelle
- Allergan Natrelle Cohesive Silicone Gel Implants
- Mentor MemoryGel
- Mentor MemoryShape
- Sientra Silicone Gel Breast Implants
These textured surface implants are sometimes used for cosmetic purposes; they are more commonly used during reconstructive procedures.
What is ALCL?
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer involving the cells of the immune system. This disease develops when white blood cells (T-cells) become abnormal. There will usually be a build-up in the lymph nodes, but can also affect other parts of the body. ALCL compromises about one percent of all NHLs.
Breast implants linked to cancer
The National Cancer Institute found that ALCL occurs in an estimated 1 in 500,000 women annually. However, BIA-ALCL could happen in 3,000 women. It’s important to note that this number is believed to be underreported because of the latency period between receiving the implant and diagnoses.
Recent studies reveal that patients with textured implants face an increased risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This rare form of cancer is not breast cancer, rather a cancer of the immune system.
BIA-ALCL is a type of lymphoma that can develop around the breast implants. In BIA-ALCL, the lymphoma occurs in the fibrous capsule (scar tissue) that surrounds the implant. In more advanced cases, the lymphoma can spread to lymph nodes near the breast. This cancer usually progresses slowly and is curable; however, it also has the potential to be fatal.
It is crucial for women with breast implants to familiarize themselves with BIA-ALCL symptoms and how the disease is diagnosed and treated.
Detecting Breast Implant ALCL
Implant-associated ALCL is often a difficult diagnosis because other diseases and cancers cause similar symptoms. BIA-ALCL detection is done through a diagnostic test when a doctor asperates the seroma fluid. They may make a small cut in the skin to remove part of the lymph node or use a needle to take a sample. After this quick process, the sample is sent for CD30-positive and ALK-negative t-cell lymphocyte testing. Positive results include the presence of malignant T-cells.
Physicians may conduct additional tests. Possible tests include a CT scan, Positron emission tomography (PET) scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and bone marrow biopsy. These tests are run to determine how far the disease has spread in your body.
When caught early, BIA-ALCL is curable in most patients. This makes it critical that you have an evaluation with a health care provider if you suspect you may have BIA-ALCL.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with ALCL and have had a breast augmentation, contact The Carlson Law Firm today. There is a chance that your cancer is linked to breast implants.
Breast Implant ALCL Symptoms
The most common symptoms of BIA-ALCL are a result of excessive fluid buildup around the breast implant. This can cause unexplained breast enlargement, asymmetry, or a lump in the breast or armpit. Other symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Collection of fluid (seromas)
- Asymmetric breast size
- Hardening of the breast
What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you have been experiencing pain, swelling, or have noticed lumps around your breast implants, make an appointment to see your health care provider immediately. Your physician will then determine if further testing is needed.
If you are diagnosed with ALCL, you may be eligible to file a BIA-ALCL lawsuit. The Carlson Law Firm has more than 40 years of experience representing victims dealing with injuries that were the result of a company’s negligence.
It is important to understand that treatment protocol for one patient may night be the right treatment for another. Your treatment for BIA-ALCL is tailored to your needs. Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you depending on several factors, including:
- Type of ALCL
- Stage of the disease
- Location of the cancer
- Your age and general health
After your confirmed diagnosis of BIA-ALCL, you will be referred to get a PET/CT scan to look for any disease that may have spread throughout the body. This will help determine the stage of cancer, which is imperative for treatment.
You will then be referred to an oncologist who will evaluate the BIA-ALCL. The oncologist will determine the stage of the disease and begin treatment planning.
If it is determined that the BIA-ALCL is only around the implant, surgery will be performed to remove the breast implant along with the scar capsule around the implant.
Lumps in the armpit may be an indication that the disease has spread to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes will be tested with a needle biopsy. There will likely be another testing at this stage, such as various blood tests.
Patients with advanced cases of BIA-ALCL may require further treatment, including chemotherapy. In rare cases, radiation therapy or stem cell transplant therapy may also be part of treatment.
After treatment, patients will be evaluated for the following two years with imaging testing, including PET/CT scans in three to six-month appointments. If the disease was caught early on, re-occurrence is rare after surgical removal.
Textured breast implant recalls
In 2011 the FDA identified the first possible association between breast implants and the development of ALCL. Due to the small number of cases during that time, it was not possible to determine which factors led to an increase in developing the disease. The FDA then decided they needed to gather additional information to characterize ALCL in individuals with breast implants better.
The FDA reports 573 cases of this cancer are linked to implants. The agency began tracking the issue in 2011. Of the 573 cases total, four hundred eighty-one are attributed directly to Allergan Biocell implants. Thirty-three women have died from BIA-ALCL. Allergan announced a worldwide recall of textured implants and tissue expanders in July. The recall followed the FDA’s findings of a sharp increase in BIA-ALCL and deaths linked to the products. The FDA asked the Dublin-based company to pull their products off the U.S. market to protect women’s health.
The latest data collected by the FDA indicates the risk of BIA-ALCL is six times greater with Allergan Biocell textured implants. Several countries have already banned or recalled these specific devices. Canada banned them in May, and European markets pulled them last year.
The textured surface of the Biocell implant’s design is to prevent slippage and minimize scar tissue. Textured implants account for 10% of the U.S. market. The recall does not affect Allergan’s smooth implants.
If a doctor diagnosed you or a loved one with BIA-ALCL, contact a qualified Breast Cancer Implant Attorney to discuss your next steps.
What types of Allergan Breast Implants are part of the recall?
The list of implants that have been taken off the market include:
- Allergan Natrelle Saline-Filled Breast Implants (previously sold as the McGhan RTV Saline-Filled Mammary Implant) in styles 163, 168, 363 and 468.
- Allergan Natrelle Silicone-Filled Textured Breast Implants (previously known as Inamed Silicone-Filled Breast Implants) in styles 110, 115, 120, TRL, TRLP, TRM, TRF, TRX, TCL, TCLP, TCM, TCF,TCX, TSL, TSLP, TSM, TSF, and TSX.
- Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped sIlicone Filled Breast Implants in styles 410FM, 410FF, 410MM, 410 MF, 420 ML, 410 LL, 410 LM, 410 LF, 410 FX, 410 MX, and 410 LX.
The tissue expanders that have been recalled are:
- Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander
- Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs
What is the link between cancer and breast implants?
Research suggests that if the tissue around the implant and the capsule become inflamed, fluid will build up damaging the cells. If the disease progresses, it can invade the lymph nodes and other tissues, and may spread throughout the body. Recognizing symptoms is critical to timely diagnosis for treatment. The FDA warns this condition can be life-threatening if it isn’t diagnosed and treated promptly.
Should I have my implants removed?
The FDA announced that individuals who have had a breast augmentation do not need to have their implants removed unless symptoms are present, and you have discussed with your health care physician.
It is important to note that BIA-ALCL can take up to ten years to develop.
How will a BIA-ALCL Lawsuit Help?
Defective product lawsuits are the result of companies putting products on the market that pose a risk to the health of consumers. Recent studies reveal that patients with textured implants face an increased risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA ALCL). As a result of this serious complication, many of those affected are filing lawsuits for damages.
Individuals with a BIA-ALCL diagnosis may face hefty medical bills. It is essential to consider other financial losses, including past and future lost wages. Seeking compensation through a BIA-ALCL lawsuit may be the best course of action.
You have the right to hold the company accountable for the damages you have incurred as a result of their defective product. Our qualified Breast Implant Cancer attorney may be able to recover damages for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Punitive damages
How do I know if I qualify for a BIA-ALCL Lawsuit?
You may qualify for compensation from an ALCL lawsuit if you:
- Underwent reconstructive or cosmetic breast augmentation, and
- Developed the ALCL form of lymphoma, even if your diagnosis occurred many years after the augmentation.
Contact our experienced Breast Implant Cancer attorney to discuss your specific situation and determine if an ALCL lawsuit is the best course of action for you.
A Breast Implant Cancer Attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can help
The Carlson Law Firm understands how difficult it may be to find out you have been diagnosed with cancer. At a time where you may feel emotionally exhausted and vulnerable, our compassionate attorneys will dedicate themselves to ensure you get the justice you deserve. We have the resources to stand against companies who put the health of the public at risk. Defective products do not belong on the market. We can help you hold negligent companies accountable.
Our team of dedicated breast cancer implant attorneys will provide you with the representation you deserve, as you deal with your diagnosis and treatment. Let us evaluate your case and discuss your legal options during a free consultation.