24 Jun 19
The Scottish Sun
BIBA Tanya can still remember waking up from her boob job and seeing that the surgeon had made her wonky boobs the same size.
She’d gone under the knife after breastfeeding left them lopsided – but she had no idea that her new implants would end up poisoning her.
Mum Biba Tanya says her implants were poisoning her
Biba used to work as a glamour model
She’s one of thousands of British women who have faced serious health issues after having a boob job.
On tonight’s Dispatches: Britain’s Breast Implant Scandal, former MTV presenter Abbie Eastwood – who had her implants removed – investigates claims among women that their implants are making them ill.
Presenter Abbie had her implants put in when she was 25 – but within days she was experiencing worrying symptoms.
“My hair fell out, I had memory fog, aches and pains, utter exhaustion. I had to stop work. I spent whole days in bed,” she says.
Desperate, she Googled her symptoms and found an American website where 70,000 other women were complaining of the same symptoms after getting implants.
Biba was happy with her implants until she began getting worrying symptoms
‘Breastfeeding left my boobs lopsided’
Blogger and mum of three Biba, now 38, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, had her implants put in when she was 28.
The former glamour model says her natural 32D chest was her main asset in her late teens and early twenties, and nicknamed them the “money makers.”
Biba nicknamed her boobs the ‘money makers’
But after breastfeeding her son, Biba was left with one B and one D cup – and promptly booked in for a breast enlargement to even them out.
She says: “It was September 2008, I couldn’t see myself having any more children. So I booked in to my local plastic surgery clinic.
I had a 350 cubic centimetre silicone implant put into my right breast and a 420cc silicone implant into my left, taking me to an even E cup.
“I’d been so insecure about my uneven chest and I was thrilled with ‘my new twins’ and fell in love with my ultra cleavage.”
Vomiting 47 times a day
Yet Biba says five years after her Allergen implants were put in, she began to suffer with low energy levels, hair loss and her skin constantly itched.
At the time, her symptoms were diagnosed as Fibromyalgia – a condition that causes extreme pain all over the body.
Yet it was only when she fell pregnant with her second daughter, Lola, two years ago that the symptoms accelerated. “The pregnancy was wretched,” she says.
“I was hospitalised numerous times for extreme morning sickness.
“This was my third pregnancy and I’d never felt like this before. On my best day I vomited seven times, on my worst 47 times.”
But when Lola arrived life was no better for Biba.
Biba shows off the results of her surgery
“Lola couldn’t latch. We had her tongue-tie snipped twice but it made little difference. It was as though my milk made her sick so I cut out dairy, wheat, sugar.
“My husband Kevin made a light-hearted quip about how ironic it was that growing Lola had made me ill for 42 weeks and now my breasts seemed to be doing the same to her. His comment struck home – were my breasts making my baby sick? Were they poisoning me too?”
Biba did her research and discovered thousands and thousands of women across the globe also suffered the same symptoms after having boob jobs – and there was a term for it: Breast Implant Illness.
Biba is happier and healthier without her implants
She insisted her GP refer her for a scan and it was then her worst fears were confirmed.
“My left implant was ruptured,” she says.
“The silicone had leaked into my body and they found it had migrated to my lymph nodes too.”
Biba had her Allergen implants and surrounding capsule removed. The procedure – also known as ex-planting – was performed on the NHS last September exactly ten years after they were first inserted.
Within two weeks, all of her symptoms had vanished.
Implants causing cancer
The textured version of the implants were recalled in France last December and in Canada in May this year. One expert in tonight’s film says, “cells get stressed by the rough surface” of the implant, causing chronic stress which can lead to cancer.
In 2016, the US health agency recognised that a new cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) can be caused by implants.
In the UK similar authorities are still conducting research into whether any such links exist.
‘I’m too scared to test for cancer’
Over 250 British women have launched a class action suit against the manufacturers of Allergen implants because of the risk of cancer.
Six of those women have ALCL. They say manufacturers should have pointed out the cancer risk associated with the implants.
“I’m too scared to test for cancer,” says Biba.
“Even though I had the smooth version of the implants, it doesn’t sit well with me.
“Looking back, I can see my 28-year-old boobs were perfect.
“They might not have been symmetrical, but somewhere along the line I’d subconsciously been convinced that major surgery – to get a more attractive cleavage – was a good idea.
“I’d always had fairly decent natural breasts. Without the implants, my boobs now look like empty Tesco carrier bags floating in Blackpool Sea.”
[boxout headline=”Allergen say:”]”The safety of Allergen’s implants is supported by extensive pre-clinical device testing and more than a decade of worldwide clinical reviews as well as a large number of peer-reviewed and published studies.”
Tonight’s documentary airs as 250 British women launched a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Allergen implants because of their associated risk of cancer – and Emmerdale star Lucy Parteger, 42, described her implants as “toxic bags” which the actress couldn’t wait to get out of her body.
There are thought to have been at least 75,000 women worldwide who have had the Allergen implants.
In America, nine of these women are reported to have died as a result of implant-related cancer. In the UK, the figure is thought to be three.
Emmerdale star Lucy Pargeter has had her breast implants removed after the caused problems with her breathing
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An NHS spokesperson said: “While there isn’t currently any clinical evidence that these symptoms represent a new kind of illness, women experiencing them should seek advice from their GP at the earliest opportunity.”
The UK regulatory body MHRA has known about the Breast Implant related cancer since 2011, but it has only recently come to public attention.
They said, “Because it’s an evolving diagnosis, the WHO only classified it as a condition fairly recently, it’s reasonable to assess that it probably is underdiagnosed. Our focus is on the professionals to improve their knowledge and understanding of this evolving condition.”
For Biba such understanding has come too late: “I’m a mum of three and have been through hell and back over the last several years. Had I known the risk I would never have gone under the knife and had implants. It’s just not worth it.”
Dispatches: Britain’s Breast Implant Scandal airs on Channel 4 tonight at 8pm