FORMER model Jen Hunter today revealed she is one of the victims of potentially life-threatening PIP breast implants.
Jen, 29, who became a model in 2005 and appeared on Channel Five reality TV show Make Me A Supermodel, paid £4,000 to have her breasts enlarged at Birkdale Clinic in 2008.
But after doctors confirmed she does have the controversial French-made implants, made with silicone intended for industrial use, she is now faced with the dilemma of paying £3,000 for removal, or risk them rupturing and potentially causing cancer.
Jen, who quit modelling last year and is now a marketing manager at The Bellingham Hotel, in Wigan, said: “I decided to move into plus size modelling, but after breast-feeding, which I thought was best for my daughter, I was small on top.
“So I decided to have my breasts enlarged. It was not a decision I made lightly, and I researched which would be the best clinics. Now I find out the choice I made could be killing me – I just want them taken out.
“When the news broke, I rang the clinic, but I later got a letter saying it was the Government’s responsibility. The doctor said we had to wait for a decision from the House of Commons as to whether they are safe or we have to have them removed.
“I now have to get them removed at my own cost of £3,000. Who in this economy has a spare £3,000 lying around? It has been stressful. I am in limbo.”
The Birkdale Clinic’s website says that advice over removal and payment should come from the Government.
It said: “PIP implants were approved by the Government, and we feel it is the Government’s responsibility to arrange consultation and removal and re-augmentation for all women, not just for those who had implants at NHS hospitals.
“We believe that no PIP implants have been used at Birkdale Clinic hospitals after July 2008, but we will check your records to confirm this.
“The Government has said that the NHS will see all women if the company that gave those implants has gone into liquidation or cannot afford to provide free treatment.”
The clinic is offering free replacements for ruptured implants.
The latest advice from the NHS and plastic surgery experts is that women with PIP breast implants do not need to have them removed, unless they have symptoms such as pain and tenderness.
They claim there is no link to cancer, and there is no clear evidence of an increased risk of harm compared to other brands of breast implants.
More information can be obtained by visiting www.nhs.uk/news/2012/01January/Pages/government-review-advises-on-french-pip-breast-implants.aspx.