Since the invention of breast implants, women have suffered adverse effects and complications from their augmentation surgery. Some women suffer minor complications such as breast pain and increased sensitivity to more intense issues like necrosis and implant ruptures. Worse yet, some breast implants have been associated with cancer and other life-threatening health concerns.
Now, a new concern has been raised by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, about a specific saline breast implant. The government agency has asked the company Allergan, recently acquired by the parent company AbbVie, to recall their BIOCELL textured breast implants. This is due to the fact that the implant is believed to cause a rare type of cancer known as BIA-ALCL. This specific cancer has been diagnosed in over 900 women with the implant and has contributed to the death of more than 33 women.
The cancer associated with the device is not directly a breast cancer, as other types of cancers associated with breast implants have been in the past. Instead, BIA-ALCL is a slow-growing form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a cancer of the immune system.
The cancerous cells can form around the breast, but the cancer does not typically grow in the breast itself. Cancerous cells tend to form inside the sack of the breast implant, or around the scar tissue surrounding the implant, but BIA-ALCL has also been known to spread throughout the body and damage other tissues and organs.
“This is a severe form of cancer, and manufacturers must be held responsible when they expose consumers to such dangers,” says Attorney Fred Cunningham of Domnick, Cunningham, & Whalen. “Recalls do not protect manufacturers from this responsibility, or from civil liability if consumers wish to pursue compensation. When women have been hurt by these products, they also have certainly every right to file a claim to recover that compensation.”
Of course, while compensation can help women with medical costs and lost income should they develop BIA-ALCL, it does not cure their cancer and the health complications that may arise from it. As such, it is important that women understand the ways they could protect themselves from this breast cancer even though the FDA has stated that there is a low risk that a person with these types of implants will contract this specific cancer.
While Allergan complied with the request made by the FDA almost ten months ago to recall their implant, they are now increasing their efforts. Now, Allergan is making aggressive and active attempts to find the tens of thousands of women who still have the dangerous devices in them. This new effort will include the launch of a digital and social media ad campaign to alert potential patients about the recall of the textured Biocell implants that occurred in July 2019. Allergan will also work with the FDA to reach broader audiences.
Some of the signs of BIA-ALCL include swelling in the area of the implant that does not subside on its own over time, and pain in the area of the implant. In some cases, women may feel a lump under their skin, just as many do when they detect other forms of breast cancer.
It is crucial that women understand these signs, as early detection with any type of cancer can greatly help with recovery. If these symptoms do ultimately lead to a cancer diagnosis and women have the Allergan implant, they should then speak to an attorney as soon as possible to understand their rights. Allergan is beginning to face the legal repercussions of their negligence, and you could join the more than 50 lawsuits pursuing justice today.