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Thousands of women to sue over cancer-causing breast implants

04 September 2023

Class Actions

Thousands of women are preparing for a legal battle against breast implant manufacturer, Allergan, after its implants were linked to cancer and other serious autoimmune illnesses.   Sarah* came to Shine Lawyers to find a way to claw back the thousands of dollars she has spent to remove her harmful implants.  “The Christmas before I took my implants out, I thought I was going to die,” she said.  “I had the implants in 2013 to make me feel feminine as I was flat-chested after breast-feeding my three children.   “What was supposed to be a step towards improved mental health ended up being the polar opposite.  “I was diagnosed with pericarditis. I had fluid around my heart. I suffered from painful UTIs. I had constant night sweats, headaches, stomach pain, brain fog and all my joints would ache.”  “Before the implants, I was healthy, exercised daily and loved life, but after surgery I was tired, in pain regularly and struggled to do daily activities. I couldn’t exercise anymore, and I couldn’t enjoy all the things I wanted to with my three girls.   “In 2020, seven years after having implant surgery, I learnt of the Allergan breast implants recall which happened because of the risk of the implants supposedly causing illnesses like lymphatic cancer.  “I called my surgeon who confirmed that they were the implants that I had.  “As a preventative measure, I pulled out my super and paid for explant surgery because I knew I had to live for my three girls.  “I went through a horrific ordeal but I’m one of the lucky ones. My heart breaks for those who developed cancer as a result of this dangerous product,” she said.  Allergan breast implants were recalled by the manufacturer on 2 August 2019 because of a link between the implants and the increased likelihood of developing Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).  This type of cancer is a cancer of the lymphatic system rather than breast cancer.   Symptoms of BIA-ALCL include sudden swelling (due to a build-up of fluid around the implant) or pain in a breast or the armpit, and occasionally a lump or rash.  Most cases of BIA-ALCL on record have developed on average 7-8 years after original insertion of the implant.   Diagnosis involves taking a sample of fluid or tissue from the breast via ultrasound or can be diagnosed by histopathology of capsule tissue after the implant has been removed. It cannot be diagnosed by a blood test. “Any woman who has developed BIA-ALCL, is symptomatic, had the implants removed and is or will be out of pocket as a result of removing these implants, should join our class action investigation,” said Vicky Antzoulatos, Joint Head of Class Actions at Shine Lawyers.   “Some women will have scarring and disfigurement as a result of implant removal surgery and some will suffer health complications for the rest of their lives.   “It’s horrific that a product like this can be put to market and expose women to such grave risk. These implants were also used for breast reconstruction surgery on women who had already recovered from breast cancer, and this added another layer of illness, fear and medical expenses” said Antzoulatos.   It has been reported that 1 in every 2500-3000 women with these implants will develop lymphatic cancer.”   Shine Lawyers is investigating the following products as part of its claim:  

  • Natrelle salene breast implants; 

  • Natrelle highly cohesive anatomically shaped silicon fill; 

  • McGhan biodimensional silicone filled biocell textured breast implants; 

  • Natrelle inspira silicone filled breast implants; 

  • Natrelle silicone filled tissue expander; 

  • McGhan magna-site tissue; 

  • McGhan croissant shaped tissue expander. 

For more information, visit: Allergan Breast Implant Class Action Investigation.

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