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France urges removal of suspect breast implants

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 01:50

Dec. 23 - The French government is recommending up to 30,000 women in France who received suspect breast implants from a now-defunct company get them removed, but says there's no evidence they raise the risk of cancer. Joanna Partridge reports

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Alexandra Blanchere is one of an estimated thirty thousand French women who may have to have their breast implants removed. The women had implants made by the company Poly Implant Prothese - or PIP - which is accused of using a sub-standard form of silicone gel commonly found in computers and cookware. The French government is now recommending the women have these implants removed following complaints about them rupturing, says the Director General of the French Health Ministry. SOUNDBITE: JEAN-YVES GRALL, FRENCH HEALTH MINISTRY DIRECTOR GENERAL, SAYING (French): "Ministers told doctors to suggest removal as soon as possible, and if some women don't want to have them removed, they should have check-ups every six months." France has had reports of eight cases of cancer in women with PIP implants. But plastic surgeon Laurent Lantieri says there's no conclusive link between the cheaper silicone and cancer. SOUNDBITE: PROFESSOR LAURENT LANTIERI, A LEADING PLASTIC SURGEON, SAYING (French): "The relation with cancer is very hypothetical, that isn't really the problem. The problem is that there has been a scam where industrial silicone has been used in a certain number of implants, not medical silicon, which could cause the implants to rupture in an abnormal way, and that is why they need to be withdrawn." PIP collpased in 2010 when its product was ordered off the market. Alexandra is President of the PIP Implants Support Group, she warns it isn't just a French problem. SOUNDBITE: ALEXANDRA BLACHERE, PRESIDENT OF PIP IMPLANTS SUPPORT GROUP, SAYING (French): "PIP was the third-biggest implant maker in the world and 87 percent was exported. So we're looking at 300 to 400,000 potential victims in the world. Lots of people are contacting me from Italy and Spain. There are articles in Venezuela, in Brazil and Ukraine." Public health funds will be used to pay for new implants for women who had the surgery for medical reasons. But women are calling on the government to fund all replacements. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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France urges removal of suspect breast implants

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 01:50