Do breast implants lead to illness? Cancer survivor pushes for federal action

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GARDEN CITY -

U.S. medical authorities are revisiting the safety of breast implants as part of a decades-long debate on their health effects.

Debbie Langedorff is a breast cancer survivor who had a double mastectomy and chose to put in implants. She's had them for the past 14 years without issue. Now, a volunteer at the Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program at Adelphi University, she says she's concerned about the thousands of women nationwide who say they've fallen ill since getting breast implants and wants to see federal action.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday began a two-day hearing, listening to medical professionals and deciding whether to investigate the health risks of implants. It's in response to claims of people getting cancer from their implants.

Volunteers at the Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program say they've been getting calls for years from women who say they became sick after getting breast implants.

Currently, there is no official correlation between implants and illness. The FDA still says implants are generally safe, but it warns of possible complications like pain, swelling and implant rupture.

Langedorff says she doesn't want to see women having any complications because they had implants put in following a double or single mastectomy.

"They should be safe," she says.

About 300,000 women get breast implants every year for cosmetic reasons. Another 100,000 women get them for breast reconstruction following cancer surgery.

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