A group of 20 women are taking legal action after developing a rare form of cancer which has been linked to their breast implants.
The condition called known as BIA-ALCL (breast implant associated-anaplastic large cell lymphoma) has affected more than 50 women in the UK and hundreds worldwide.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates medical devices in the UK is collecting data on the number of women who have been affected by BIA-ALCL. The rare cancer of the immune system is thought to affect one in 24,000 implants sold.
However, women who have been affected said they were not given enough information about the risks of implants. Surgeons have even compared victims to “human guinea pigs”.
One of the women who is taking legal action, Linzy Bromfield, paid for breast enhancement surgery in 2005. 13 years later, Ms Bromfield found swelling in one of her breasts, which made her unable to wear her bra. She was later diagnosed with BIA-ALCL cancer and had fluid drained from the breast.
She said: “”I cried, really cried. I was angry and hurt. I couldn’t really take it in at first. I was worried I was going to die… I think when you hear that word ‘cancer’ you think, am I going to die?”
Following this, Ms Bromfield had the implants removed, and has been free of the disease since. Ms Bromfield is now suing the manufacturer.
Nigel Mercer, chairman of an advisory group of surgeons monitoring cancer cases for the MHRA, said: “There are unknowns with any implant but it does mean we are using our entire population as human guinea pigs, almost.”
Allergan, a manufacturer of breast implants, has issued a global recall of some of their products including textured implants which have been linked to the rare disease.
The manufacturer stated that safety was a priority for them and it would support informative labelling “to promote the safest use of breast implant products”.
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