French cancer scare may mean breast implant removal order
The French government will decide on Friday whether it will recommend 30,000 women with potentially dangerous breast implants to have them removed. There are fears that implants supplied by French firm Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) cause cancer.
PIP was found last year to have used a non-authorised, low-grade silicone gel believed to have been made for mattresses in order to cut costs.
This is believed to have caused abnormally high implant rupture rates.
Police have received complaints from 2,000 women and have opened a criminal investigation into PIP which has since closed down.
Eight cases of cancer have been declared among women with the implants and a ninth died last year.
But the head of France’s National Cancer Institute, Dominique Maranachi, says the cases are not necessarily linked to the breast implants.
The French government has formed a special committee to look into the issue.
One member of the committee, Dr Laurent Lantieri, a plastic surgeon famous for a recent face transplant operation, told Libération newspaper “We have to remove these implants. We are facing a major health crisis, linked to a fraud.”
Government spokeswoman Valérie Pécresse said all women with PIP implants should see their doctors immediately but a health ministry official said there was no immediate health risk.
In the UK, where another 40,000 women are believed to have received PIP implants, officials said the evidence did not warrant their removal.
A programme of mass breast implant removal operations would be expensive for the French health service, costing an average of 2,500 euros per operation.
PIP was the World’s number three supplier of breast implants, selling some 100,000 a year, mainly abroad.