Quebec contacting women with textured breast implants to warn of cancer risk

The Quebec Health Department wants all the thousands of women in the province who have received textured breast implants since 1995 to be warned of a potential cancer risk.

The government has asked the province's hospitals and clinics to contact all patients who received that specific type of implant in the last 24 years to inform them of the symptoms of anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a form of cancer.

Department spokeswoman Marie-Claude Lacasse says the chance of developing the cancer is very low, only about one in 30,000, but the government still wants women to be informed.

The Quebec government's decision follows an update by Health Canada published in mid-February that noted an increase in the number of cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with textured breast implants in Canadian women. As of Jan. 1, Health Canada had been informed of 22 confirmed and 22 suspected cases.

The federal department says this isn't a breast cancer but a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer affecting the immune system that can appear several months or even years after implant surgery.

The province estimates that 15,000 Quebec women have received textured implants, which are chosen by about 10 per cent of patients receiving implants.