By Shirin Rajaee

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Breast implant manufacturer Allergan issued a worldwide recall after certain textured breast implant models were linked to a rare and deadly cancer.

Allergan is voluntarily issuing this recall at the FDA’s request. According to the FDA, of 573 lymphoma cases, 481 are “attributed to Allergan implants.”

“I had swelling of my breasts last summer and that really made me have to take action,” said Joleen Hottel.

It’s been just two weeks since the 50-year-old Sacramento mom had her textured Allergan breast implants removed due to a series of symptoms she says she’d been experiencing for over a decade with no real answers from doctors. But now with the recall, there is some clarity.
“It came full circle for me, to know all the symptoms I’d been having weren’t just in my head,” said Hottel.

She says her symptoms ranged from chronic headaches to aches and pains in her hips and legs, to eventually a huge swelling of her breasts. But even with her implants removed, she’s now waiting to find out if she has  Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, cancer linked to 33 patient deaths since 2010.

“I think 25 years ago, if they had handed me a document that said by the way these could cause cancer, you still want to sign? I don’t know if my 25-year-old self would have said yes,” said Hottel.

Allergan says the voluntary recall was out of “precaution.” Meanwhile, UC Davis plastic surgeon Dr. Granger Wong says in most cases, once the implant is removed, the situation is resolved.

“The situation is resolved once you remove the implant, which is the offending agent, and you remove the involved tissue,” said Dr. Wong.

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Patient advocate Michelle Forney was diagnosed with the cancer in 2018.

“I woke up one morning and my breast was the size of a volleyball,” said Forney.

She says the recall is a small victory for advocates who have been trying to raise awareness about this issue for years.  Forney had her textured implants removed and is cancer-free, but she says the fight is far from over.

“Since the announcement, there’s been a lot of fear. Women don’t know where to go. We’re speaking to hundreds of women trying to educate and reassure them of what to do,” Forney said.

So what should you do if you have this implant?

The FDA is not recommending women without symptoms remove the implants because of the risks.


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