A Florida woman believes the breast implants she received in the wake of a mastectomy caused her to develop another form of cancer. Sherry Kellogg, a 48-year-old breast cancer survivor from North Palm Beach was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in 2008.
Kellogg told The Palm Beach Post that she first received saline breast implants in 2002. After one of those ruptured in 2007, she had both replaced with silicone breast implants. Eight months later she began having swelling and fluid around the right implant, and that implant was removed.
It was during that surgery that Kellogg’s doctor noticed something about the scar tissue surrounding her implant looked abnormal. A biopsy showed it was not breast cancer, but further testing revealed Kellogg was suffering from ALCL.
Fortunately, Kellogg is now in remission. One of the doctors who helped with her ALCL diagnosis is including Kellogg’s case in an article being written for an upcoming medical journal.
ALCL is a rare malignant tumor (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) that may appear in several parts of the body including the lymph nodes, skin, bones, soft tissue, lungs, or liver. Each year ALCL is diagnosed in about 1 out of 500,000 women in the United States. ALCL located in breast tissue is found in only about 3 out of every 100 million women nationwide without breast implants. However, according to a recent LA Times report, over the past three years, a number of papers on the subject of breast implant lymphoma have been published by researchers, finally prompting the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to look into the issue.
Earlier this month, the FDA warned that 60 cases of ALCL have been reported in breast implant patients. The agency also said its review of the medical literature published between January 1997 and May 2010 revealed 34 unique cases of ALCL. Twenty-seven cases of the lymphoma identified by the FDA involved silicone breast implants. Most of the ALCL cases were diagnosed after silicone implants returned to the market in 2006. The diagnoses tended to occur a median of eight years after implantation and involved implants for breast augmentation as opposed to reconstruction following breast cancer surgery.
Sherry and her husband Robert told The Palm Beach Post that they are thankful that the issue of breast implants and lymphoma is finally getting a public airing.
“The doors are starting to open. We know we’re not crazy. People are starting to pay attention,” Robert said.
For her part, Sherry said she no longer believes breast implants are worth the risk.
“I can never have reconstruction now. Boobs are overrated,” she said. “Life is far more important. I wake up every day. I smile, and that’s how we get started.”