Lifestyle & Belief

France urges removal of PIP breast implants, but finds no cancer link


A picture taken on December 21, 2011 in Nice, southeastern France, shows a breast implant produced by PIP (Poly Implant Prothese) company after a surgical operation.



PARIS, France— France’s Health Ministry on Friday said there was no cancer risk from faulty breast implants made by a local company – but urged 30,000 women to have them removed, Agence France Presse reported.

Health Minister Xavier Bertrand called for their removal due to “well-established” risks of ruptures.

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Eight cases of cancer, mainly of the breast, have been reported by women who have the implants, made by the now bankrupt Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP.

But in a statement the French Health Ministry said women with PIP implants "do not have a higher risk of cancer than women who have implants manufactured by other firms."

PIP’s products were banned last year after they were found to contain a non-medical grade silicone gel filler, which caused the abnormally high rupture rates, the BBC reported.

It is understood that PIP replaced the medical-grade silicone in its implants with industrial-strength material during a period of financial difficulty.

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AFP said it had obtained documents that show tens of thousands of women in more than 65 countries have received implants made by PIP.

They’re mainly in South America and western Europe, with the BBC reporting that as many as 40,000 women in Britain are thought to have them.

French prosecutors have received more than 2,000 complaints from French women, and have opened a criminal investigation into PIP, AFP reported – adding it has spoken to a lawyer for PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas, who said his client was prepared to face prosecution.

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The lawyer said that for now there was “no evidence” the implants cause illness.

It is not yet known if the French government will foot the bill for those seeking the removal of their implants in France.