Study Confirms Breast Implants Increase Rare Cancer Risk

January 3, 2018

The largest study of the link between breast implants and lymphoma to date found that there is a greatly increased risk of a rare cancer, according to the report published this month in JAMA Oncology. The study found breast implants are associated with a 421 times greater risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

This scientific evidence linking breast implants to ALCL could spark another wave of class action lawsuits by women seeking compensation for their injuries. In the 1990s, women claiming injuries from silicone breast implants agreed to a $3.7 billion settlement with several companies.

BIA-ALCL, the acronym for it, is a cancer of the immune system rather than a form of breast cancer. The absolute risk of this type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a woman with breast implants is estimated to be 1 in 7,000. For every 7,000 women with breast implants, one will get BIA-ALCL. An article in JAMA Surgery last fall previously put the affected range from 1 in 4,000 women to 1 in 30,000 women with breast implants.

According to an FDA announcement last year, the agency received more than 350 reports of the cancer linked to breast implants between June 2010 to February 2017. The precise cause of the increased risk is not yet known. However, the study found the majority of the cases of BIA-ALCL had textured implants rather than smooth surface ones. A review of 115 scientific articles last year focusing on BIA-ALCL found 93 cases of the cancer in the medical literature.

Textured implants gained in popularity in the 1990s. The average time to diagnosis of BIA-ALCL is about 10 years after getting the breast implants. Researchers expect that the number of BIA-ALCL cases diagnosed will increase because the rates of women getting breast implants are increasing every year.

If you or a loved one have had a diagnosis of ALCL following breast implants (whether textured or smooth surface), call McEldrew Purtell's attorneys at (215) 545-8800 to speak to a personal injury attorney in a free consultation.