A woman who suffers from a rare type of breast cancer is taking a Marlow based pharmaceutical company to court.

Susan Axelby, from South Yorkshire, underwent an elective mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in 1999, due to a strong family history of breast cancer.

During the procedure, she was fitted with macro-textured implants, a product which has been used extensively within the NHS for post-mastectomy reconstruction.

However, the implants did not settle properly, and Susan had to undergo further surgery in 2001 where she was fitted with a left-sided breast expander.

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This was a product manufactured by Allergan, which is based in the Globe Business Park.

Susan said: “It was my choice to have preventative surgery, but I believed the Allergan implants I was given through the NHS treatment were safe.

“I endured years of worry and a series of operations and now I discover that the very implants which were intended to help me have in the end caused a cancer I was trying to avoid.”

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Susan then had surgery a decade later in April 2011, where she underwent a ‘trimming procedure’ to address discomfort caused by overhanging breast tissue within her bra.

Initially pleased with the results, the 65-year-old took up the offer of further implants to be provided under the NHS through surgery in October 2011.

She was fitted with bilateral, again Allergan, macro-textured implants.

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However, further problems developed in her left breast and in March 2019, Susan was diagnosed with BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma).

She has now begun legal action in the High Court against the Marlow-based company, arguing the products were unsafe and led to the development of her cancer.

Her solicitor, Sarah Moore of Leigh Day Solicitors said: “Allergan implants were suspended across Europe in December 2018 and withdrawn from the worldwide market in July 2019.

“Their risk of BIA-ALCL is low, but serious, and very real as Susan’s case shows.

“Hers is a particularly traumatic story because of the several operations she has had to undergo, each to address an unsatisfactory degeneration in the previous implant.

“The sad reality in Susan’s case is that she went on to develop the cancer diagnosis, which she had undergone surgery to avoid, as a direct result of the implants provided during the course of that surgery.

“The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency latest figures show there are 61 women with Allergan implants in the UK who have been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL.

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“Some women who received Allergan and other textured implants through the NHS and are concerned about developing ALCL have been refused access to funding for removal.

"They are cancer survivors who are now being refused access to removal of a product provided through the NHS which exposes them to a man-made risk of cancer.”

We have approached Allergan for a comment.