UPDATE: Australian health authorities have decided against recommending the removal of breast implants which have been linked to increased rates of rupture and a rare form of cancer.
This comes despite news that France and Venezuela have agreed to foot the bill for women who have been fitted with PIP implants to have them removed.
This from the SMH:
The Therapeutic Goods Administration said last night there was no evidence in Australia of particular problems with the French-made Poly Implant Prothese silicone-gel implants.
The statement came after TGA officials met for three hours with the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery yesterday to discuss whether a national warning was needed.
The TGA advised there was no evidence in Australia to support ”increased rupture rate for PIP implants in this country”.
And here’s our original cheat sheet:
Is there a link between breast implants and cancer? That’s the question thousands of women around the world will be asking today after news that the French Government is considering paying for 30,000 women to have their breast implants surgically removed because of fears the implants could be linked to a rare form of cancer.
It’s not just France that’s affected. Women all around the world – including 4500 in Australia – have been fitted with implants made by a company called Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP). That’s 300,000 women in total. And the major concern? The company was shut down last year after being caught using industrial, not medical, silicone in its devices to save money.
To help you understand what’s happening and answer any questions you might have, we’ve put together this cheat sheet.
What’s happening in France?
There’s a criminal investigation underway into the implant manufacturer, Poly Implant Prostheses. French authorities have serious concerns after reports of a high rupture rate of the implants, which were some of the cheapest available. Eight cases of cancer have been reported in patients with PIP implants. This from The Australian:
The French National Cancer Institute has been asked to report by the end of the week on whether the gel can cause cancer, after the implant was linked to the death of one woman and cancer cases in a handful of others.
It’s still not known whether the implant has a direct link to the rare form of cancer – anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) – but patients in France have been told to contact their doctors to check the make of their implants.
Some doctors in France are adamant that all women with the implants should have them removed. This is from the ABC:
Laurent Lantieri, one of France’s best-known cosmetic surgeons and a member of a health department committee on the issue, told Liberation there was no choice but to order the implants’ removal.
“We all agree on the necessity of this decision,” he said.
PIP, the company in question, went into liquidation last year and the product was removed from the market. Another company took over control and it’s still not known if that company will be responsible for any legal action.
The president of the now bankrupt company has admitted PIP knowingly used inferior silicone products. Speaking through his lawyer, Jean-Claude Mas said higher quality implants were used for wealthier clients, while industrial-grade silicone was used for other clients.
He said the product “did not formally receive approval, and in this regard there was a violation of regulations”.
“Why did this company use this kind of product? Because it was a corporation with economic objectives and because of corporate management that tried to get the best cost,” he said.