Alert over breast implants after two women are killed by cancer
TWO women died from cancer after being fitted with controversial breast implants, the medicines watchdog revealed.
Another 23 have developed the same type of cancer – anaplastic large cell lymphoma – which has previously been linked to textured surface implants.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which published the figures, is currently undertaking a major review into their safety.
Cancer cases worldwide have been linked to implants that have a textured or slightly roughened surface, rather than a smooth covering, introduced around 15 years ago.
It is thought texturing may cause inflammation that can lead to cancer after several years.
The MHRA stressed there was so far no definitive evidence the cancers were caused by the implants. But experts disagreed and called for tougher action, while US regulators have also raised concern over their safety.
Professor Jim Frame, an expert in cosmetic surgery at Anglia Ruskin University, said: ‘This cancer is a potential bombshell that has been swept under the carpet for five years. Textured implants should be banned. We should return to using smooth ones which were safe.’
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare form of cancer that affects the lymph glands in the immune system.
There are approximately 400 new cases in the UK each year and most can be successfully treated with chemotherapy.
Around 8,000 women had breast enlargement surgery last year in Britain. Last October a register of breast surgery patients was set up to improve safety after the 2010 PIP implant scandal affected up to 47,000 women. In 2015, the French watchdog said there was a ‘clear link’ between the recalled implants and tumours.
An MHRA spokesman said: ‘We are part of the EU task force monitoring breast implant-associated ALCL, which is aiming to get a Europe-wide picture.’
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘An independent advisory group has been set up and we have taken firm steps to improve cosmetic surgery safety.’