The symptoms of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) often are the same as more common diseases of the breast. which can make ALCL hard to diagnose. Early and precise diagnosis is important to successful ALCL treatment. However, doctors often are unsure if a person has ALCL, even after capsule fluid has been removed and tested.
If you have a fluid collection or unexplained swelling many months or years after receiving a breast implant, try to see a doctor who has experience in ALCL. If you have been diagnosed with breast implant-associated ALCL, it is important that a doctor experienced in ALCL reviews your tests.
Because doctors at MD Anderson focus on ALCL and have experience with the disease, they are among the most skilled and experienced in the nation.
Breast Implant-Associated ALCL Diagnostic Tests
If you have symptoms that may signal breast implant-associated ALCL, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health, lifestyle, and your history and type of breast implants and breast surgeries. One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have breast implant-associated ALCL and if you have lymph node involvement. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working.
- Needle biopsy or drainage of capsule fluid
- Imaging tests, which may include:
- PET-CT (positron emission tomography) or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
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