Breast Implants: thousands of Quebec women at risk

Implants mammaires: des milliers de Québécoises à risque

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In France, the security Agency of medicines and health products (MSNA) was recommended in November, the surgeons use breast implants that are textured.

The ministry of Health of Quebec wants all the women in Quebec — they would be thousands — who have received breast implants that are textured since 1995 were contacted and advised of a potential risk of cancer.

The ministry requested all health facilities to open the records of their patients, including women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery, in order to identify those who have received these implants specific.

They must then notify the women involved, that is to say, all those who have received such implants during the past 24 years.

The risk of developing this cancer appears to be low, from 1 woman in 30 000, said a spokesman for the ministry of Health of the province of Quebec, Marie-Claude Lacasse. But the ministry wants women to be informed.

This decision of Quebec has followed a update released by Health Canada in mid-February. The federal ministry signalled an increase in the number of cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants that are textured in Canada. January 1, 2019, Health Canada had been informed of 22 confirmed cases and 22 suspected cases.

According to the federal ministry, it is not a cancer of the breast tissue, but a rare form of non-hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer affecting the immune system, which may appear several months or years after the breast implant surgery. It is generally characterised by the accumulation of fluid between the implant and the surrounding tissue.

The implants referred to have a textured surface that resembles sandpaper-very fine, and which, according to surgeons, a better adhesion to the tissue than smooth implants, which increases their stability in the chest.

A number difficult to estimate

It is difficult to know how many women in Quebec have received this type of implants before the hospitals and clinics have made the round of their estates. But the ministry of Health of Quebec estimates that it could be 15 000. Only 10 % of women with implants have the models textured, he added.

Women will be notified by letter of symptoms to monitor — such as the abnormal swelling of breast, pain or a palpable mass, among others — and to make an appointment with their doctor for a follow-up, if applicable.

The McGill university health Centre (MUHC) indicates on its website that it will contact all his patients to inform them of the risk “very low, but potential’, of this lymphoma. It has put in place a telephone line at their disposal.

This cancer remains very rare, writes the MUHC, who notes that a single case has been reported in Québec, and that the patient has been successfully treated.

The conclusion of the update of the review of Health Canada’s safety is expected for the spring of 2019.

Soon a collective action ?

In Quebec, an application for approval to commence a collective action against the manufacturers of these breast implants that are textured has been filed with the Court. The action has not yet been given the green light by a judge.

According to one of the manufacturers affected by this action, Allergan Canada, there has been no new clinical data relating to the review of the benefit-risk profile of breast implants that are textured. The increase in the number of cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants reported to Health Canada to be primarily due to the recent attention of the media and a greater awareness of this disease, he argued on his Web site.

In France, the national security Agency of medicines and health products recommended in November, the surgeons use breast implants that are textured. It was also asked in December to the company Allergan to proceed with the recall of its implants, textured are currently in stock.

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