Women Who Developed Illnesses After Getting Breast Implants Are Speaking Out About Risks

Women have stepped forward to claim they never knew the potential health risks of choosing to get breast implants.

A doctor wearing scrubs looks on.
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Women have stepped forward to claim they never knew the potential health risks of choosing to get breast implants.

Women are stepping forward to share upsetting personal stories regarding the health consequences they have dealt with as a result of getting breast implants. The Food and Drug Administration is currently in the midst of a two-day hearing during which they will access the potential risk these types of implants pose upon millions of American women. The hearing will include testimonials from women who claim they developed forms of cancer after getting breast implants, according to NBC News.

BIA-ALCL is a type of anaplastic large cell lymphoma. This is a type of cancer that affects the immune system and is brought about by scar tissue often caused by surgery to insert breast implants. Doctors have already diagnosed 457 women in the United States with this form of cancer and 17 women worldwide have lost their lives because of it. Typically, this cancer can be stopped in its tracks by surgery to remove the scar tissue. However, if it isn’t caught early enough, it can be too late.

Many women are telling the FDA that they were never informed of the potential risks involved prior to getting their breast implant surgery. Dawn Criss of Alberta, Canada, is one of the many women who wishes she could take back her decision to get implants in the first place. Following her implant surgery, she began experiencing a variety of strange and uncomfortable side effects. Her breasts swelled up twice their normal size and she experienced fatigue, hair loss, intestinal problems, and an unexplained rash. Doctors later diagnosed her with BIA-ALCL.

While Criss chose to get implants, she certainly didn’t choose to get cancer as a result and was not made aware that this outcome was even a possibility.

“Cancer was not a choice. And we sure as heck didn’t elect to get it,” she said

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Jennifer Cook of Georgia shared a similar sentiment. She had no idea that she was risking the chance of cancer prior to getting her breast implant surgery. She was diagnosed with BIA-ALCL in 2017. “I was blindsided,” she told the FDA.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a commissioner for the FDA, and Dr. Jeff Shuren of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, released a public statement regarding breast implant safety measures to be implemented moving forward. Together they have formed a registry which will include ongoing data about patients diagnosed with this disease.

“We worked with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons/the Plastic Surgery Foundation to develop the Patient Registry and Outcomes for Breast Implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma Etiology and Epidemiology.”