In this series we show you the importance of being your own advocate when it comes to your health and the many ways you can prevent common medical errors.
Why should you take charge?
Medical errors are considered the third leading cause of death in the United States. The American Association for Justice estimates that 440,000 errors resulting in death occur each year. We’ve learned a thing or two after handling medical malpractice cases for more than 30 years. We’ve learned that while medicine is complex, errors often can be prevented in simple, common sense ways. When you take charge of your own medical information you can actually decrease the odds it will happen to you.
Advocacy Series Highlight: Cancer-causing breast implants
Breast implants are one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery, with roughly 10 million people in the world having had the procedure. This increasingly popular type of cosmetic surgery typically comes with the “usual” risks of surgery, ie swelling, bruising, disfigurement, scarring and infection. Cancer is not something most patients would associate with elective breast surgery, at least not until now. But this is exactly what some patients who have received an Allergan textured breast implant are facing. In a shocking report, the FDA announced the voluntary recall of a specific variety of Allergan textured breast implants for putting patients at a higher risk for developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
What is breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)?
Not to be confused with typical breast cancer, the cancer linked to the textured breast implants is a type of T-cell lymphoma, or cancer of the immune system. Research indicates that the cancer develops within the scar tissue, and doesn’t emerge until years after the implants are placed. Women who develop this cancer may experience symptoms like redness, pain, and swelling in the breasts.
How do I know if I am at risk?
Fortunately, this is a rare type of cancer, and it appears to be very treatable if caught early. Those who have these textured breast implants are at risk for developing this illness. In addition to cancer treatments, the FDA recommends that symptomatic patients have the implants removed, but anyone who feels fine does not need to have them removed. All women, including those with breast implants, should perform monthly self-checks of their breasts to take note of any changes at the earliest possible time. If you have questions or concerns about what kind of implants you have, call your surgeon’s office for advice on how to proceed. If you have developed anaplastic large cell lymphoma after having breast implant surgery, don’t hesitate to call an experienced product liability attorney to evaluate your claim. For a free case consultation, call or message Scartelli Olszewski today.