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Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) originating from T-cells, a type of white blood cell. It typically leads to swelling of the lymph nodes and comes in four different types, each characterized by distinct features and proteins.


ALK-positive ALCL:  This is the most common type.

ALK-negative ALCL: Considered a high-grade lymphoma.

Breast Implant-associated ALCL

Although it occurs in the breast, it’s not a form of breast cancer and is a rare occurrence following silicone breast implantation. It often presents with a sudden onset of fluid collection around the implant.

Symptoms to Watch For

The primary symptom of ALCL is painless swelling in the neck, armpit, or groin. Other signs may include sweating, fever, and unexplained weight loss. If ALCL affects areas outside the lymph nodes, symptoms can vary. For instance, chest involvement may lead to shortness of breath, coughing, or chest pressure. In cases of breast implant-associated ALCL, sudden fluid collection around the implant may occur.

Diagnosis Process

ALCL is typically diagnosed through a biopsy, where a portion or the entirety of an enlarged lymph node is removed for analysis in a laboratory. Additional tests such as blood tests or X-rays may also be needed to confirm the diagnosis. For breast implant-associated ALCL, at least 50 cc of fluid is usually sent for testing, checking for the presence of CD30.

Treatment Approach

Treatment for ALCL is personalized based on various factors including the type, grade, and stage of the lymphoma, as well as the patient’s age. A multidisciplinary team of specialists will determine the most suitable treatment plan, which often involves chemotherapy. The specifics of the chemotherapy regimen, including the number of cycles, are tailored to each patient’s unique circumstances.
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I am a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon. After years of training in surgical oncology, I have focussed my interest on the treatment of breast disease. In particular, my area of interest is the rapid assessment and management of all breast conditions, with a particular interest in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and an emphasis on breast conservation with an optimal cosmetic outcome.​

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