Breast cancer survivor’s implant scare
A BREAST cancer survivor claims she has been forced to endure another major health scare from potentially cancer-causing breast implants.
Cairns woman Tracey Schneider has been waiting for several months to find out if the implants inserted into her chest 18 months ago have put her at risk of lymphoma.
Ms Schneider, who underwent a double mastectomy in July 2016 after being diagnosed with breast cancer, had breast reconstruction surgery in February 2017.
Her Cairns Private Hospital surgeon used Allergan Natrelle implants, which have since been linked to a rare form of cancer.
Breast implant associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare cancer that can be effectively treated if detected early.
According to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, BIA-ALCL has been known to occur in association with textured breast implants.
Ms Schneider, who is due to have surgery next month to have her implants removed, and to be tested for BIA-ALCL, said she had been stuck in "crappy limbo" waiting for answers.
"I could sit and cry. It's just devastating," she said.
"But it's not just me - it's other women. We want don't want to have to walk around like this."
Ms Schneider is one of more than 200 women across Australia who have contacted law firm Slater and Gordon, which is considering launching a class-action suit against the US based Allergan, whose products have been pulled from the market in Europe.
Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration has been investigating breast implants - including Allergen devices - to determine whether the Federal Government will take similar regulatory action.
The TGA has had a total of 78 cases of BIA-ALCL reported to it, as of earlier this month, including four deaths. Ms Schneider hoped more women with implants would come forward with their concerns.
"A lot of women don't know that they have this implant inside them," he said.
"I didn't know until I contacted my solicitor."
Allergan says the safety profile of its smooth and textured breast implants is supported by extensive preclinical device testing, over a decade of US and European clinical use involving more than 160,000 women, and a large number of peer-reviewed and published studies.