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Breast implants linked to rare form of cancer

Kentucky readers should be aware that breast implants have been linked to a rare form of cancer that has claimed the lives of nine women, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The cancer, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, attacks the immune system.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL, can be found in the area of the breast implant, in the skin or in the lymph nodes. The cancer is generally non-aggressive and treatable if diagnosed in early stages. According to the FDA, breast implants are linked to a small increase in the risk of developing ALCL. The agency said it had been notified of 359 cases of possible breast cancer caused by breast implants as of Feb. 1, but it is hard to determine the total number of cases due to reporting and data issues. Most ALCL cases involved the use of breast implants with a textured surface, as opposed to implants with a smooth surface.

According to plastic surgery organizations, up to 11 million women worldwide have breast implants. Statistics indicate that fewer than 10 breast implant patients develop ALCL each year. Patients and doctors should monitor implants for symptoms such as fluid buildup, hardening, masses, swelling or redness. Mammograms and MRIs should also be routinely performed.

Breast implant manufacturers have a legal obligation to make their products as safe as possible. Patients harmed by a breast implant may wish to pursue a defect products lawsuit against the manufacturer seeking compensation for damages. An attorney could assess the facts of the case and recommend the best course of action.

Source: CNN, "9 deaths and rare cancer linked to breast implants, FDA says," Madison Park, March 22, 2017

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