Cancer fight gets a win

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - SUE DUNLEVY NA­TIONAL HEALTH RE­PORTER WOMEN WITH TH­ESE IM­PLANTS SHOULD RE­FER TO THE AD­VICE OF THE THER­A­PEU­TIC GOODS AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TION AT WWW.TGA.GOV.AU.

EVERY breast im­plant used in Aus­tralia should now be recorded on a na­tional reg­is­ter to help track cancer cases thanks to The Sun­day Tele­graph’s cam­paign.

Fed­eral Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt and his La­bor coun­ter­part have both agreed to act af­ter we re­vealed how there had been an ex­plo­sion in rare cancer cases as­so­ci­ated with breast im­plants, with 72 cases re­ported and three deaths.

This week The Sun­day Tele­graph can re­veal that Aus­tralian women trav­el­ling over­seas to get cheap breast im­plants have also con­tracted this rare cancer and some have been fit­ted with dodgy de­vices with no brand name or se­rial num­ber.

In re­sponse to our cam­paign, which is still push­ing for bet­ter mon­i­tor­ing and com­pen­sa­tion for vic­tims, Mr Hunt said the fact not all doc­tors were re­port­ing the de­vices to a na­tional registry was an im­por­tant is­sue. He said he has asked the Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Pro­fes­sor Bren­dan Mur­phy to “in­ves­ti­gate this is­sue im­me­di­ately”.

“The use of reg­istries will be dis­cussed with all health min­is­ters later this year,” he said.

Op­po­si­tion health spokes­woman Cather­ine King said if La­bor wins the next elec­tion she would make par­tic­i­pa­tion in the registry manda­tory.

“Mr Hunt should ex­plain why he hasn’t al­ready done so,” she said.

The Aus­tralian So­ci­ety of Plas­tic Sur­geons said some dis­count providers and high vol­ume doc­tors were re­fus­ing to take part in the registry.

When all de­vices im­planted into Aus­tralian women were listed on the registry it would be eas­ier to mon­i­tor the spread of the cancer, called Anaplas­tic Large Cell Lym­phoma.

This cancer usu­ally takes 7-14 years to de­velop af­ter breast im­plants are put in. Aus­tralian doc­tors have re­cently slashed their use of high-risk breast im­plants as­so­ci­ated with the cancer but ex­perts are warn­ing that women who travel to Asia for cheap surgery are still get­ting them.

To­day, we can re­veal that four of those 72 cancer cases are as­so­ci­ated with breast im­plants put in dur­ing cut-price surgery deals in Thai­land (2), Mex­ico (1) and China (1).

Pro­fes­sor Anand Deva, whose re­search has ex­posed the ex­tent of the cancer risk, said he was deeply con­cerned about the Chi­nese im­plant.

“We have no idea who made it, it could have dodgy fillers and no qual­ity con­trol,” he said.

Dr Rod Cooter, the doc­tor who helped set up Aus­tralia’s breast de­vice registry that is track­ing the grow­ing num­ber of cancer cases as­so­ci­ated with breast im­plants, said over­seas providers were us­ing the higher-risk tex­tured de­vices. And women tak­ing part in med­i­cal tourism were not be­ing prop­erly mon­i­tored for cancer be­cause their doc­tors don’t carry out reg­u­lar post-surgery checks, he said.

Re­search by pro­fes­sors Deva and Mark Mag­nus­son iden­ti­fied women fit­ted with Sil­imed’s rough-tex­tured im­plant have a 23.5 per cent greater risk of cancer and those with Al­ler­gan’s Bio­cell im­plant a 16.5 per cent higher risk.

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