An article in The New York Times brings light to something that no patient wants to think about: serious cancer caused as the result of a medical procedure and dangerous product. In this case, the medical procedure is breast augmentation surgery, and the dangerous products are textured breast implants, which have been linked to at least nine deaths throughout the country.
The breast implants have been linked to a rare form of cancer known as anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. The cancer forms around the breasts in the scar tissue surrounding the location of the breast implant. In the majority of cases that have been reported, the women did not discover the cancer until symptoms, such as fluid buildup and pain and lumps, developed at the affected site.
While the cancer is not often deadly, such is clearly not the case for the nearly dozen women who lost their lives as a result of the implant-caused cancer. The Times reports that in most cases, the cancer is curable by simply removing the breast implant and some of the surrounding tissue in which the cancer is embedded; in more serious cases, chemotherapy is necessary to kill cancer cells. Even when the cancer does not result in death, though, the idea of undergoing an intensive surgery to remove implants and breast tissues, and potentially chemotherapy as well, is distressing. No patient should be under the impression that something is safe for their health, only to have that product cause them such serious harm.
The number of women who could be affected negatively by implants is unknown – in 2016 alone, about 290,000 women in the United States underwent breast enlargement and implantation surgery. Women who received textured implants are much more likely to develop the cancer than are women who opted for smooth implants, although the reason for this is unknown. Again, the cancer is very rare, but requires immediate treatment upon discovery. It is unknown whether one brand of breast implants is more likely to cause cancer than another.
It is important that women understand the risks associated with a breast enlargement surgery where implants are inserted. For women who have undergone breast surgery and have opted for textured implants and have developed cancer as a result, pursuing legal action may be a possibility. Those who may be liable might include: the manufacturer of the breast implant for its failure to thoroughly research the product and any potential adverse patient reactions, as well as properly warn patients of these risks, or the doctor or surgeon for their failure to provide the patient with information about potential cancer risks, and obtain the patient’s informed consent.
At the law offices of Nickola & Nickola, our medical mistakes and defective products attorneys can help you to understand your rights when either causes you harm. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with our team today by calling our offices or writing us a message online.
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