Increased risk of cancer from breast implants? Woman barely survives rare blood cancer linked to her implants

A 48-year-old British woman survived a rare blood cancer that was triggered by her breast implants. Known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), this type of cancer is said to be a result of a reaction between the white blood cells and the new generation of rough surfaced breast implants introduced a decade and a half years ago. The cancerous cells can spread throughout the body in the bloodstream if it remains untreated.

The woman, identified as Linzy Bromfield, had her breast implants 13 years ago after feeling that “she had lost her femininity after having children.” In 2015, she noticed that her right breast got bigger, so she went to her doctor thrice in the following weeks to drain a full cup of liquid from her breast. However, the swelling came back after a few days. She was referred to specialists at Broomfield Hospital where she was diagnosed with ALCL. With the diagnosis, she was advised to get her implants removed immediately, and she was not allowed to get new implants because of the risk that the cancer would come back. Fortunately for her, the disease did not spread throughout her body.

“My doctors said if this cancer had been left for only another month, it would have spread round my body and killed me,” Bromfield said.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England warns that prospective patients must be cautioned of the risk from certain cancer triggered by breast implants. This is a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system and is responsible for draining unwanted fluid from tissue and preventing infection. Although rare, ALCL can also occur in people without breast implants and anywhere in the body and it usually affects children and teens.

In the U.K. three out of 41 diagnosed women were reported to have died because of the cancer. But experts believe that the actual number of cases may be much higher because a lot of women had their implants removed after suffering from swelling and lump formation without knowing the cause. Moreover, Elise Bevan, a medical negligence solicitor at Penningtons Manches in Guildford, Surrey said that doctors are still unaware of the disease even though the risk of ALCL is included in the breast implant consent procedure.

Bromfield is the 74th woman diagnosed with ALCL in the world. Breast implant-associated ALCL was first reported in 1997 then in 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a national alert, warning doctors of the association of the cancer and breast implants. In 2016, the World Health Organization recognized the breast-implant associated ALCL as a separate disease.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the U.K. started reviewing the risks associated with breast implants last year. An MHRA spokesman told Good Health that there is no concrete evidence yet on the link between ALCL and any particular model of implants. However, they advised women to check for symptoms such as lumps, swelling, or distortions through continued regular self-examination, and to visit their doctor if they have any concern.

Risk of breast implants

Aside from developing ALCL, there are other serious and life-threatening complications that come together with breast implants. These include:

  • Infection from bacteria and mold that can be released from the implant into the body
  • Surgical risks
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Chronic breast pain
  • Breast or nipple numbness
  • Capsular contracture
  • Scar tissue
  • Hardened and deformed breasts
  • Breakage and leakage
  • Necrosis
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration
  • Metal poisoning due to platinum exposure (in silicone implants)
  • Silicone migration into lymph nodes and other organs
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Death

Read more stories on the causes of cancer at

Sources include:

comments powered by Disqus