Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Cancer Alert: Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

Note: The original publishing of this article is from AWARENESS FOR A CURE and PinkSmart News on July 31, 2018. (LINK)  This article is an overview reflecting a recent health alert from various medical centers and clinicians about a possible cancer risk resulting from a specific type of breast implant.  If you may recognize yourself to be a candidate or have received a similar notice from your reconstructive surgeon, please contact your physician to get more details.

Since 2011, the FDA identified a confirmed link to a specific type of breast implant and breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL - a form of cancer of the immune system called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  The World Health Organization (WHO) describes BIA-ALCL as a T-cell lymphoma that may arise within 7-8 years after the insertion of breast implants with textured surfaces.  Half of the reported cases were diagnosed with persistent SEROMA, a buildup of fluid around the implant region (see image) and presenting symptoms of swelling, pain, and redness and breast asymmetry of the affected breast.

By 2017, 359 cases of ALCL has been reported thus far and 9 deaths (2.5%) have been identified since the inception of this study where the majority of cases reported had textured implants versus smooth implants.  The very texture of the implant's coating has been said to cause inflammation and scarring that can led to lymphoma, while others attribute the texture to trap bacteria which leads to cancer.

According to the FDA, certain manufacturers have been reviewed and connected with implant-specific risks since 1999 associating their textured implants with ALCL.  Worldwide, approximately 1.4 million breast augmentations were performed in 2015. In the United States, 290,467 breast augmentations were performed in 2016; this represented a 37% increase from 2000.  BIA-ALCL most commonly occurs in patients of a median age of 52 years. The median time interval between breast implant and diagnosis is 9 years and ranges from 1 to 32 years.

Jennifer Cook, a diagnosed victim-turned advocate of BIA-ALCL awareness is promoting a global mission and educational program to support all women who are potential sufferers of this problem. "...there is extreme urgency because this disease can go from being curable with surgery to a disease that may take your life quickly-- because it's advanced...(in) a matter of a few months." In a private interview, she detailed her personal research and her actual experience of self-checking and finding anomalies and unusual feelings that breast surgeons addressed only with minimal concern. Her pro-activeness and perseverance led her to a powerful direction of self-preservation. "it was the biopsy of that lump that led to my diagnosis. I actually had a mass that was diagnosed before the explant ... like most cancers, you know the sooner you get to it, the much better chances you have.  The situation is obviously a huge concern because currently experts are advising women who test negative, that their seromas are benign and that they do not necessarily need to have their implants removed. We feel that this is misleading given the fact that at least five women we know of have recently had negative fluid but positive capsules."

Because BIA-ALCL has generally only been identified in patients with late onset of symptoms, implant removal in patients without signs or symptoms is not recommended.  Dr. Robert Bard, a NYC based cancer imaging diagnostician recommends a regular monitoring schedule for any adjustments or shifts in the current stasis of the implant and its surrounding area. "Fluid build up may be easily imaged by 3D sonography although it can be detected by MRI scans as well (9). Under ultrasound guidance, fluid may be aspirated and analysed in real time without rupturing the implant or puncturing nearby arteries."

It has been noted that among operable patients, total capsulectomy with removal of suspicious lymph nodes is the first line of treatment and complete surgical excision (capsulectomy and implant removal) resulted in better overall survival and event-free survival compared to patients who underwent a limited surgery or treatment with systemic chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

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NJ BREAST SURGEON FIRST TO SUPPORT NEW IMPLANT SCREENING PROGRAM

Dr. Stephen Chagares, seasoned breast cancer surgeon and a global pioneer in advanced robotic procedures is a major supporter of post-surgical health maintenance for all patients - especially cancer survivors who underwent reconstructive surgeries. His commitment to the continued evolution of modern medicine supports the development of protocols to use advanced ultrasonic screening solutions for all mastectomy patients and implant users.  

By early spring of 2018, Bard Cancer Diagnostics in NYC expanded its breast cancer screening program to include screening of all breast implant disorders.  From seromas to recurrences to the recent news blast about (BIA-ALCL) Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, this Implant Screening & Monitoring program promotes a safe and regular imaging option to target implant related issues without side effects or patient discomfort. 

Dr. Chagares stated that once mastectomies have been performed, the standard follow up is chest wall physical exam because until now, no one really offered any kind of surveillance - other than MRI’s.  The same goes for any concerns about possible reactions to or performance failures of breast implants.  Dr. Chagares recognizes all of the benefits to patients for use of Dr. Bard’s advanced Ultrasound technology as a recommended solution for protocols to guide screening and diagnostic evaluation of breast implants of all types.  He recognizes the safety and comfort aspects (no contrast agents or heavy metals, no radiation and no pain) for the patient making it the ideal solution for regular testing and checkups for the predominantly large population of breast implant patients. “When given the option, my patients from all risk levels prefer ultrasound over MRI.  Especially for my post-mastectomy patients with implants (for whom mammograms are not possible), the option of undergoing an ultrasound instead of an MRI would be an understandable relief. When discussing the relative risks of radiologic surveillance options, patients are comforted by the fact that ultrasound is literally the same use of sound waves as what is used safely on developing babies every day!  

I am hoping Dr. Bard’s advanced ultrasonic screening becomes the foundation for development of future protocols for screening and diagnostic imaging for all breast implant patients. Hopefully, these protocols using this ultrasound technology can be incorporated with other breast implant safety programs to create the best medical care possible for all breast implant patients.”

For more information on Dr. Chagares, visit his website: drchagares.com and additional news clips on NYCRA News
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REFERENCES:

9) Bard R, 8th International Workshop on PET in lymphoma, Menton, France 2018

10) ALCL In Women With Breast Implants BIA-ALCL:

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DISCLAIMER:

The information provided in this article is a compiled report from public websites whose links are listed in the REFERENCE section and the statements and quotes included are from actual interviews by those whose names are stated who provided express consent to the publishing of this material.  This article is not meant to be used to diagnose, treat or advise others about what actions they should take with regard to any medical condition.  No one should undertake or discontinue any treatment as a result of what they read on our blogs. The publisher(s), editors, sponsors or other  "supporting members" of AwarenessforaCure.org are providing a strictly educational service and are not responsible for the diagnosis or treatment of any specific health needs. and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation to any person(s) reading the information in this article or its thread. Readers with medical needs should obtain appropriate professional medical supervision. References are provided for any informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any websites or other sources.

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