Health and Environment|

UK watchdog says French breast implants have zero cancer link

UK officials have assured women who have silicone breast implants manufactured by a French company that they do not have to remove them. Amid rumours of health risks, French authorities will soon decide whether or not women should remove implants made by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

However, the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) argues that none of the evidence is strong enough to show possible links with cancer. It is estimated that up to 40,000 British females currently have the PIP implants.

Women wearing the implants and are worried about removal are encouraged to contact the surgeon that fitted them. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), PIP manufactured the implants with non-medical grade silicone thought to be meant for mattresses.

This meant that the lower cost material was more likely to break (10% of them split by the first year), even though breast implants should last for at least 10 years.

About eight cancer cases had already been reported among patients wearing PIP implants, according to Jean-Yves Grall, France’s Director General for Health. A ninth implant carrier in Gers died from cancer last year.

After reviewing the evidence with related British professional bodies, the MHRA stated that there was not enough evidence to show any links to cancer. The MHRA said it had collaborated with the cancer registry along with professional groups for breast surgery and oncology.

The MHRA has advised women with any sort of breast implant and are concerned about their health or worry that their implants may have split, should seek medical attention from their implant surgeon.

A declaration from the British Association for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) argues that it has not yet witnessed any strong proof showing that medical problems may be caused by PIP implants, but will fully review any evidence that becomes available. A spokesperson said that the expected announcement by French medical authorities should be a precautionary measure, adding that patients should get in touch with their surgeons if any action is necessary.

Douglas McGeorge, who is a consultant plastic surgeon and the former head of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), stated that patients fitted with breast implants must check whether theirs is from PIP. He said that there was no need to panic, adding that women with PIP implants can be monitored after checking with their clinic.

PIP is thought to have distributed over 300,000 implants globally by in the past 12 years. Ever since the defects were found, about 523 implants have been taken out.





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