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A lawyer for women with breast implant related cancer voices concern about increased cases in Canada

Zahra Nanji, who is representing a group of women diagnosed with BIA-ALCL, has voiced concern about a reported increase in similar cases in Canada.

Posted on 22 January 2020

On 14 January 2020, CBC News Canada reported that Health Canada, the regulatory agency equivalent to the UK's MHRA, had confirmed that it had now received 106 reports of BIA-ALCL, including both confirmed and suspected cases. 
 
It reported: “A cancer in women with textured breast implants is more widespread than previously believed, raising questions for patients and physicians about continuing to describe it as ‘rare’.”
 
CBC News reported that these figures had been provided to them by Health Canada by email and that it was important to understand that the figure of 106 cases may go up or downwards - as the reported cases are fully investigated to confirm diagnosis and possible double-counting.
 
Of the 106 cases now reported, 52 of those cases were received by Health Canada since May 2019.
 
In May 2019, Health Canada followed France and other European countries, including the UK, in banning sales of Allergan Biocell textured implants due to concerns regarding an increased risk of BIA-ALCL associated with their use.
 
Zahra Nanji, a product liability lawyer at Leigh Day, said:

“This latest news from Canada is concerning. If the numbers now identified to Health Canada become confirmed cases, this doubling of BIA-ALCL incidence is consistent with the pattern anticipated by some experts as awareness of BIA-ALCL spreads across the international patient and clinician community.

“In the UK, we have also seen an increase in confirmed cases in the past six months. It is important to bear in mind that BIA-ALCL is, and remains, an uncommon condition, however, it is also crucial for clinicians and patients to be alert to the low, but potentially serious risks, posed by BIA-ALCL.”
 
Leigh Day has been approached by 40 women to date, all of whom have the ALCL diagnosis.

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Zahra Nanji
Medical devices Medicines

Zahra Nanji

Zahra Nanji is an associate solicitor in the consumer law team.

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