Today a final report into the PIP breast implant scandal was released, concluding that the material used is not toxic and does not cause a long-term health threat. The report, led by NHS medical director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, further states there is no conclusive evidence that links the ruptures of PIP breast implants and breast cancer. However, it does make point and confirm that the PIP breast implants were made of substandard material and are likely to rupture twice as much as other implants.
Hoping for some sort of reprieve, many women throughout the main online PIP support groups find the latest report a continual disappointment. Many seeing the recall as a national failure on the part of government regulation and safety were hoping that NHS would finally grant removals for all PIP women or at least move forward in that direction.
However, the report reiterates their previous advice earlier this year to women with PIP implants to seek consultation with their surgeon or GP. More specifically, their course of action for all women is as follows:
- all providers of breast implant surgery should contact any women who have or may have PIP implants– if they have not already done so – and offer them a specialist consultation and any appropriate investigation to determine if the implants are still intact;
- if the original provider is unable or unwilling to do this, a woman should seek referral through her GP to an appropriate specialist;
- if there is any sign of rupture, she should be offered an explantation;
- if the implants still appear to be intact she should be offered the opportunity to discuss with her specialist the best way forward, taking into account the factors listed in paragraph 33 of this report;
- if in the light of this advice a woman decides with her specialist that, in her individual circumstances, she wishes to have her implants removed her healthcare provider should support her in carrying out this surgery. Where her original provider is unable or unwilling to help, the NHS will remove but not normally replace the implant;
- if a woman decides not to seek early explantation, she should be offered annual follow up in line with the advice issued by the specialty surgical associations in January 2012 (see para 4). Women who make this choice should be encouraged to consult their doctor if they notice any signs of tenderness or pain, or swollen lymph glands in or around their breasts or armpits, which may indicate a rupture. At the first signs of rupture, they should be offered removal of the implants.
So the battle continues. It continues because women with PIP breast implants still feel deceived. It continues because so many cannot afford removals at their private clinic. It continues because some surgeons and private clinics refuse to help or even disappear altogether, leaving PIP women feeling helpless without other options.
What do you think about this latest report? Leave a comment below.