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Patient safety before corporate greed: Breast Implant Victim Advocacy’s story

Jamee Cook, Chandra DeAlessandro, and Raylene Hollrah are co-founders of the Breast Implant Victim Advocacy group. The group was formed from their personal experiences and frustrations with breast implants, and under the guidance of the National Center for Health Research, has since grown into one of the most robust online resources on the issue. All three women saw their health deteriorate at the hands of this medical device and decided to take action, becoming advocates for patients’ rights and promoting education around breast implants. Below, Jamee, Chandra, and Raylene shed light on breast implant safety and encourage others to take part in the medical device safety movement.

Diana Zuckerman, Chandra DeAlessandro, Jamee Cook, Raylene Hollrah, and Terri McGregor

The Netflix Original documentary The Bleeding Edge is bringing the question of medical device safety to the forefront. Light is being shed not only on newer devices, but also on devices like breast implants—devices that have been around for decades.

While we hear quite often that breast implant safety has been proven and was only questioned in the nineties, that simply isn’t true. Women are complaining of the same symptoms today as they did thirty years ago. Despite innovation in breast implant manufacturing, patients are still being harmed. Women are sick, frustrated, disabled, and left with very little recourse to fight back against device manufacturers.

There are currently over 45,000 women in Facebook support groups alone who have been harmed by breast implants. Adverse event reporting to the FDA on breast implants is on the rise. Cases of Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a cancer of the immune system, are on the rise. Lawsuits are being filed for women with BIA-ALCL, those who have developed cancer at the hand of devices that should be under stronger scrutiny. Breast Implant Victim Advocacy works on a national level to raise public awareness on illness and complications that can accompany both silicone and saline breast implants, including BIA-ALCL.

We encourage women to be fully informed of all risks and to explore all reconstructive and enhancement options. If you have developed unexplained illness or symptoms after breast implants, we would love to help you find a good support system of women who understand you.

We are happy to be a part of a coalition fighting for justice. Social media and platforms like The Bleeding Edge documentary are empowering patients to question the safety of all medical devices. We stand with other harmed patients to fight for better regulation, unbiased studies, stronger post market surveillance, and transparency in chemical components of medical devices. Corporate greed should not supersede patient safety.

If you or someone you care about has been adversely affected by breast implants, please visit the Breast Implant Information website, or connect with the Breast Implant Victim Advocacy Facebook group.

Watch The Bleeding Edge on Netflix to join the conversation on medical device safety.