Still sick three years after having her breast implants removed

A 42-year-old woman who is still ill three years after having her potentially carcinogenic breast implants removed is paying thousands of dollars for treatment in Toronto, failing to be taken care of in Quebec.

• Read also: More and more women are removing their breast implants due to the danger

« It’s as if I was aging 10 or 20 years faster than everyone else, » says Maude Bordeleau. My system is completely down.”

In 2012, the Trois-Rivières resident underwent breast implant surgery. Like many women, she didn’t like her breasts after breastfeeding her two children.

Problems quickly

However, the 32-year-old mother never thought that this cosmetic surgery would cause her so many health concerns. From the first weeks, her menstrual cycle was disrupted.

“I had ovarian cysts, heavy bleeding, anemia, fatigue, she lists. I went to consult, they told me that everything was fine.

Over the years, the problems have accumulated: intolerance to cold, pain in the back and rib cage, memory loss, plaques on the skin. The list is long.

“At night, it oozed around the breasts, she recalls. I thought I had a stroke, I was no longer able to read text! I had to get this removed, and fast. It really didn’t work. »

In June 2019, the lady paid $8,000 privately to have her implants removed.

“My challenge was to get them removed as quickly as possible. The more I kept them, the more I poisoned myself,” she confides, lamenting the lack of support in the public network.

After the surgery, Ms. Bordeleau was shocked to realize that her implants were broken. One of them now weighed only 36g, rather than the original 375g.

nothing natural

Polyurethane, Teflon, silicone: the woman who has learned a lot about implants considers herself “poisoned”.

“There is nothing natural in it, nothing that we would like to put in a body”, she denounces.

Around the same time in 2019, Health Canada withdrew the type of implant it had, Allergan’s macro-textured, from the market due to cancer risk. Since then, the woman says she has never been contacted by either the health authorities or her plastic surgeon for any follow-up.

« Doctors don’t say what you are entitled to, I was not informed! » she laments, still awaiting information on the class action lawsuit against Allergan.

“I thought I was okay after the surgery. But, I will still be at risk for cancer, even if they have them removed. It can take years to get out,” she worries.

Abandoned by the system

Although she has gotten better since the removal of the implants, Ms. Bordeleau continues to experience all kinds of problems. The woman even travels to Toronto to undergo ozone and vitamin C treatments to be detoxified. For the past few months, she has spent at least $5,000.

« I’m abandoned by the public system, » says the one who is on the waiting list— for a family doctor.

Although she regrets having had implants, Bordeleau is hopeful of regaining his health. And she strongly suggests that women educate themselves before going under the knife.

“There are many women who are wronged. As soon as you see the word medical, you think it will be safe. But no,” she says.

All carcinogenic implants?

A recent American medical opinion reveals that all types of breast implants can cause cancer, a disturbing news that will be followed closely by doctors in Quebec.

On September 8, the Food & Drug administration (FDA) in the United States, the equivalent of Health Canada, revealed that all types of implants (filled with saline water or silicone, and smooth or textured surface) can cause cancer (lymphoma and squamous cell carcinoma ).

For the moment, only 22 cases have been reported among our neighbors. The incidence rate and risk factors remain unknown.

Rare, but worrying

« This is an emerging issue and our understanding is evolving, » the advisory read. According to the FDA, the cancer grows in the scar tissue around the implant, which is called the capsule.

Recall that in 2019, macro-textured implants from the company Allergan were withdrawn from the Canadian market, after cases of cancer of the immune system (anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with a breast implant) were detected.

According to Health Canada, 64 cases of this cancer have been confirmed so far, and 25 are suspected. Three deaths are also confirmed. Note that this data is from a year ago.

In its latest notice, the FDA invites doctors and patients to report cases of cancer.

“It’s very new. For now, it is said to be very, very rare, reacts Dr. Stephen Nicolaidis, a plastic surgeon. But that’s exactly how it started with lymphoma. »

On this subject, Health Canada indicates on its web page: “We are actively monitoring the situation. We will let Canadians know as needed.”

It is also suggested that women who have implants have regular breast exams.

No case in Quebec

The Association of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Specialists of Quebec refused the interview request of the Log on this subject. She says in a statement that she will follow the « case closely », but does not recommend that women without symptoms have their implants removed.

No case of these new cancers has been reported in Quebec so far, according to the Association.

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