Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is one of the more than 30 types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It is rare, and more prevalent in children than adults. Systemic ALCL occurs in the lymph nodes or organs throughout the body and is very aggressive. Cutaneous ALCL is not as aggressive and is usually confined to the skin. ALCL affects the immune system. It occurs when a type of white blood cells, called T-cell lymphocytes, multiply uncontrollably.
Symptoms of ALCL can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss even if eating normally
- Night sweats
- Back pain
- Painless swelling of lymph nodes
You may also experience symptoms associated with areas of the body affected, such as coughing or shortness of breath if the chest or abdominal pain.
Symptoms of primary cutaneous ALCL can include:
- Itchy skin
- One or more red bumps that do not go away, and which may or may not break open and turn into sores
Breast Implant Associated ALCL
Breast Implant Associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL) is ALCL that develops in the breast in women who have breast implants. The risk appears to be higher with textured implants. It can be very difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so similar to the symptoms of more common breast diseases. Proper diagnosis is crucial to successful treatment of BIA-ALCL.
If you experience pain, swelling, and/or fluid build-up months or years after breast enlargement surgery, you may have developed BIA-ALCL. It is very important that you talk to a doctor who has experience with ALCL. As of March, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had reports of nine deaths from BIA-ALCL.