Tag Archives: linked

Severe COVID-19 linked to increased risk of stillbirth, preterm birth

A new data analysis links COVID-19 to increased risk of pregnancy complications including preterm birth and stillbirth, with the risks rising if infection is severe.

Montreal researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 42 studies involving 438,548 pregnant people around the world.

Authors including Dr. Nathalie Auger of the University of Montreal’s School of Public Health said the data “provides clear evidence that symptomatic or severe COVID-19 is associated with a considerable risk of preeclampsia, preterm birth and low birth weight.”

“Clinicians should be aware of these adverse outcomes when managing pregnancies affected by COVID-19 and adopt effective strategies to prevent or reduce risks to patients and fetuses,” concludes the study, published Friday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The study says COVID-19 patients were more likely than those without the disease to experience preeclampsia, stillbirth and preterm birth.

Urgent questions for medical community

Compared to asymptomatic patients, symptomatic patients were at double the risk of preterm birth and a 50 per cent increased risk of cesarean delivery.

Meanwhile, those with severe COVID-19 had a four-fold higher risk than those with a mild case to experience high blood pressure and preterm birth.

The reason for increased risk was unclear, but researchers said it could be because the virus that causes COVID-19 stimulates an inflammatory response affecting blood vessels.

The team also called for more research to better understand disease pathways that explain these associations.

“Lack of knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy has raised urgent questions among obstetricians and neonatologists about the risk of maternal, fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality,” the study says.

“There is an urgent need for evidence to guide clinical decisions.”

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), has said all governments should grant access to the COVID 19 vaccine to pregnant and lactating individuals.

“The benefits of getting vaccinated for individuals at higher risk during pregnancy or while breastfeeding outweighs the risks of not receiving the vaccine,” SOGC said. 

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COVID-19 vaccination linked to lower hospitalization risk in real-world data from Scotland

Scotland’s vaccination drive appears to be markedly reducing the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19, suggesting that both the Pfizer-BioNtech and Oxford-AstraZeneca shots are highly effective in preventing severe infections, preliminary study findings showed on Monday.

Results of the study, which covered the entire Scottish population of 5.4 million people, showed that by the fourth week after the initial dose, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were found to reduce the risk of hospitalization by up to 85 per cent and 94 per cent respectively.

These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future,” said Aziz Sheikh, a professor at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute who co-led the study.

Sheik cautioned at a media briefing that the results are preliminary data, yet to be peer-reviewed by independent scientists, but added: “I am very encouraged. We now have national evidence … that vaccination provides protection against COVID-19 hospitalizations.”

Vaccination results

He said he expected other countries using the same two vaccines and a similar strategy — such as England and Wales for example —  would see a similar positive impact in reducing the number of people being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Data for the vaccines’ effect in Scotland was gathered between Dec. 8 and Feb. 15. Researchers said that during this period, 1.14 million vaccines were administered and 21 per cent of Scotland’s population had received a first dose.

Among those aged 80 years and over —  one of the highest risk groups for COVID-19 —  vaccination was associated with an 81 per cent reduction in hospitalization risk in the fourth week, when the results for both vaccines were combined.

Jim McMenamin, Public Health Scotland’s COVID-19 incident director, said the findings are particularly important “as we move from expectation to firm evidence of benefit from vaccines.”

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Child and parent fitness levels may be linked, StatsCan finds

A new study links the fitness level of Canadian children to that of their parents.

The analysis by Statistics Canada suggests a child’s aerobic fitness, muscular strength and flexibility all correlate to that of their parent. But there were differences when it came to the sex of each parent and child involved.

Boys whose parent had “excellent” cardiorespiratory fitness had better cardiorespiratory fitness than boys whose parent had a “poor” cardiorespiratory fitness level.

Girls whose parent had “excellent” flexibility had higher flexibility than girls whose parent had “poor” flexibility.

But the correlation in cardiorespiratory fitness was only seen significantly in mother-and-son pairs; while a significant flexibility correlation was only seen in mother-son and father-son pairings. Grip strength was associated in all duos except father-son pairings.

The study was based on data from the ongoing Canadian Health Measures Survey, and draws from a sample representative of children aged 6 to 11 years and their biological parents.

Previous research also found associations between parents and children in obesity, physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

StatCan notes the results should be interpreted with some caution since the aerobic test used by the study is only meant for adults. Researchers allow that it’s possible the sample represents “a slightly healthier” subset of children.

Researchers also note that analysis was limited to data where a birth parent also responded to the survey. These adults were more likely to be younger, have a bachelor’s degree or higher education, come from a smaller household size, and have a household income of more than $ 100,000 than respondents to the ongoing survey who were not the birth parent.

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California company likely source of North American salmonella outbreak linked to onions

U.S. federal health officials say an outbreak of salmonella infecting nearly 400 people in more than 30 states has been linked to red onions, and they identified a California company as the likely source.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement on Friday that Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, Calif., has notified the food agency that it will be recalling all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions because of the risk of cross-contamination.

This recall would include red, white, yellow, and sweet onions from Thomson International, the agency said.

The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said salmonella newport has sickened 396 people and landed nearly 60 in the hospital. There have been no deaths linked to the outbreak, which was first identified July 10 and has since grown. The agency says the illnesses began between mid-June and mid-July.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is also investigating an outbreak of salmonella newport illnesses with a genetic fingerprint closely related to the U.S. outbreak, the agency said Thursday.

According to an agency releasethere have been 55 additional cases of the bacterial infection in Canada since the outbreak was first announced, for a total of 114 cases across five provinces between mid-June and mid-July.

Sixteen people have been hospitalized. No one has died.

People in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are being asked not to eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including food products containing red onions, until more is known about the outbreak.

A breakdown of cases shows 43 have been reported in B.C., 55 in Alberta, 13 in Manitoba, two in Ontario and one in P.E.I. involving someone who reported falling ill after travelling to Alberta.

Federal officials say Saskatchewan is investigating some salmonella newport illnesses but has not confirmed that they’re related to this outbreak.

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Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to American red onions

Health officials have tracked a salmonella outbreak in Canada reported earlier this week to red onions imported from the United States.

According to a release from the Public Health Agency of Canada, there have been 55 additional illnesses in Canada since the outbreak was first announced for a total of 114 cases of salmonella across five provinces. 

Sixteen people have been hospitalized. No one has died.

People in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are being asked to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including food products containing red onions, until more is known about the outbreak.

Health officials are urging retailers and restaurants in these provinces to not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.

One resident of P.E.I. also became sick, but this was after travelling to Alberta.

Those who have become ill consumed the red onions in homes, restaurants and long-term care residences. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall for red onions imported to Canada by Sysco. Red onions grown in Canada are not involved in this recall. 


People in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are affected by the outbreak, which has made more than 100 people sick so far and led to 16 hospitalizations but no deaths. One person in P.E.I. who travelled to Alberta also contracted the bug. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)

Anyone can get a Salmonella infection, but children five years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious cases of the illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

The public health agency suggests taking the following precautions to prevent becoming sick from a contaminated red onion.

If you have red onions at home:

  • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.
  • If the packaging or sticker shows that it is from the U.S., don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
  • If it isn’t labelled, don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t know whether the red onion found in a pre-made salad, sandwich, wrap or dip contains red onion from the U.S., don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
  • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in areas (such as fridges and cupboards) where red onions were stored.

If you buy red onions at a store:

  • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.
  • If the packaging shows that it is from the U.S., don’t buy it.
  • If it is an unpackaged product, or is not labelled, ask the retailer whether the red onion comes from the U.S.
  • If you can’t confirm that the red onion in stores is not from the U.S., don’t buy it.

Restaurants and retailers are advised to check the label on bags or boxes of red onions or ask their suppliers about the source of their red onions.

You can find more information here.

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Doctor linked to Campbellton COVID-19 cluster says he made ‘an error in judgment’

The doctor at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton, N.B., area says he’s not sure whether he picked up the coronavirus during a trip to Quebec or from a patient in his office.

Dr. Jean Robert Ngola made the comments to Radio-Canada’s program La Matinale on Tuesday morning — his first media interview since the emergence of 12 new cases in the northern New Brunswick health region starting May 21. Before then, it had been two weeks since the province had an active case.

Ngola has been suspended by the Vitalité Health Network, one of the province’s two regional health authorities. He said he decided to speak out because he’s become the target of racist verbal attacks daily and false reports to police, and he feels abandoned by public health officials.

He has been working as a doctor in Campbellton since 2013. He previously practised in Europe and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Dr. Jean-Robert Ngola practises at the Campbellton Regional Hospital in northern New Brunswick. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Ngola said he did not self-isolate after returning from an overnight return trip to Quebec to pick up his four-year-old daughter. Her mother had to travel to Africa for her father’s funeral.

“What was I supposed to do?” he said in French. “Leave her there alone?”

Ngola said he drove straight there and back with no stops and had no contact with anyone. He said none of his family members had any COVID-19 symptoms at the time.

He returned to work at the Campbellton Regional Hospital the next day.

“Maybe it was an error in judgment,” said Ngola, pointing out that workers, including nurses who live in Quebec, cross the border each day with no 14-day isolation period required.

“Who hasn’t made an error in judgment?” he said. “That’s why I have compassion towards everyone.”

‘How many people are unwitting carriers?’

Ngola said he received a call from a public health official on May 25 informing him one of his patients had tested positive.

He has about 2,000 patients at his clinic, about 1,500 of them active.

Ngola had seen the man May 19 for a prescription renewal or something that did not require any touching or a physical exam. He said the man had no COVID-19 symptoms and was wearing a mask.

Ngola said he immediately called the patient, who had cold-like symptoms and was doing OK.

He said he cancelled his shift that night at the hospital and got a test for himself and his daughter. Neither of them were showing symptoms, but they both tested positive.

Ngola said he still doesn’t know how they were infected.

“Who can say? … The virus is circulating everywhere. … How many people are unwitting carriers?”

Hate messages pour in, doctor says

He said one hour after he spoke with hospital and public health officials about his contacts to facilitate the investigation and protect the public, his name, face and address were being advertised all over the internet as “the bad doctor who brought the virus to kill people.”

Ngola said that’s not who he is.

“I only have compassion towards sick patients … the role of doctors is to care, to heal, to help … not to spread viruses.”

Premier Blaine Higgs labelled the doctor’s actions as “irresponsible” in a May 27 press conference. 

“If you ignore the rules, you put your family, your friends and your fellow New Brunswickers at risk,” Higgs said at the time.

There are 12 active in cases in the province — all in the Campbellton health region, known as Zone 5. Four residents and a staff member at a long-term care facility in Atholville are among the most recent cases.

Accusatory calls from U.S., Africa, Europe

Ngola said he’s been looking into the people making hateful posts, and most are from outside the region. He said he feels they are trying to incite violence against him because he is black.

He said he’s been getting accusatory calls from people in the United States, Africa and Europe, and people are also making false reports about him to local police. 

Ngola said he is not pleased with the way he’s being treated by public officials.

“I’m a patient. I have a right to confidentiality, to protection from the system.”

He said he remains devoted to serving the community.

“I have a family. I have a right to live. Please, I’m not a criminal.”

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Long-term care worker among 2 new COVID-19 cases in Campbellton region linked to doctor

A long-term care worker is among two new cases of COVID-19 in northern New Brunswick linked to a family doctor who contracted the coronavirus outside the province and didn’t self-isolate when he returned.

That brings the cluster of active COVID-19 cases in the Campbellton region to eight — three of them health-care workers, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell announced on Friday.

She said she didn’t have any information about which facility the latest confirmed worker, who is in their 30s, works at or in what capacity.

But it is a caregiver at the Manoir de la Vallée in the neighbouring village of Atholville, confirmed Guy Tremblay, president and general director of Groupe Lokia, which owns the special care home for seniors.

About 100 people, including 57 residents, could have been exposed before the night worker was diagnosed on Thursday, Tremblay said.

Rapid testing at the facility is underway and expected to be completed later Friday, Russell told reporters during a news conference in Fredericton.

All residents have also been isolated, she said.

The other new case is someone in their 60s.

Contact tracing shows people living outside the Campbellton region are in the circle of transmission, Russell said.

So the virus “could easily spread to other regions,” she said, urging people across the province to continue to be vigilant.


The Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville has an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

The doctor linked to the cases and who may have exposed at least 150 other people to the coronavirus has been suspended, the president and CEO of the Vitalité Health Network has confirmed.

The doctor, who is in his 50s, caught the virus when he recently travelled to Quebec. He then returned to work at the Campbellton Regional Hospital without self-isolating for the mandatory 14 days.


Vitalité Health Network president and CEO Gilles Lanteigne said he expects 500 people in the Campbellton region to be tested for COVID-19 within the next couple of days. (CBC)

Two of the eight people in the Campbellton region who have tested positive for COVID-19 are now in intensive care, Gilles Lanteigne said Friday morning. Both patients are in stable condition, according to Russell.

The doctor’s child is among the positive cases, Premier Blaine Higgs confirmed. The child attended two daycares in the region before being diagnosed.

The other cases include two people in their 90s, someone under 19 and someone in their 40s.

Could be ‘exponential rise’ in numbers

On Friday morning, Russell told CBC’s News Network it’s a “rapidly evolving situation,” and there could be an “exponential rise in the number of cases very quickly.”

Initial contact tracing indicated at least 150 people were potentially exposed to the infected doctor, including 50 health-care workers at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and 100 people in the community.

But Russell noted that was just the “first round” of contact tracing.

WATCH | N.B.’s chief medical officer of health says probe into new cluster ongoing:

Dr. Jennifer Russell calls for people to reserve judgment until an investigation into an outbreak in Campbellton linked to a doctor who didn’t self-isolate is complete. 12:15

“As each new case is diagnosed, there’s another round,” she said.

With three of the cases being health-care workers, “this can be very widespread.”

Test offered to anyone in Campbellton who wants it

COVID-19 testing is being offered to anyone in the Campbellton region who wants it, starting today.

There are about 25,000 people in the region, also known as health Zone 5.

Test sites have been set up at the Memorial Civic Centre in Campbellton and the Dalhousie Inch Arran Ice Palace.

People don’t need to have symptoms to be tested, but must call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment.

The region extends from Whites Brook to the Village of Belledune, including Tide Head, Atholville, Campbellton, Dalhousie, Eel River Dundee, Eel River Bar First Nation, Balmoral and Charlo.


The closure of the Campbellton Regional Hospital’s ER and cancellation of all non-urgent or elective health-care services will continue until early next week ‘due to the high risk of transmission of COVID-19,’ Vitalité Health Network said. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

On Wednesday, the premier announced a medical professional had travelled to Quebec for personal reasons, “was not forthcoming about their reasons for travel upon returning to New Brunswick, and they did not self-isolate as a result.”

This professional then saw patients for two weeks at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and possibly other locations.

Higgs described the person’s actions as “irresponsible.”

Until last week, New Brunswick had no active cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. All 120 people infected since the pandemic began in March had recovered.

To date, 24,169 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the province.

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Wuhan health officials raise death toll linked to COVID-19 by 50%

At least 50 per cent more people died in China’s virus epicentre of Wuhan than previously counted, with state media on Friday attributing the initial undercount to how overwhelmed the health system was coping with thousands of sick patients.

The addition of 1,290 victims raised Wuhan’s death toll to 3,869, the most in China, and may confirm suspicions that far more people died in the city where the illness began than has been previously announced.

The total confirmed cases in the city of 11 million people also increased by 325 to 50,333, accounting for about two-thirds of China’s total 82,367 announced cases.

The revised Wuhan figures raised China’s death toll to 4,632, up from 3,342 announced by the National Health Commission on Friday morning.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted an unidentified official with Wuhan’s epidemic and prevention and control headquarters as saying that during the early stages of the outbreak, “due to the insufficiency in admission and treatment capability, a few medical institutions failed to connect with the disease prevention and control system in time, while hospitals were overloaded and medics were overwhelmed with patients.


A woman who recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus infection is disinfected by volunteers as she arrives at a hotel for a 14-day quarantine March 1 after being discharged from a hospital in Wuhan. The revised Wuhan figures, released Friday, raised China’s death toll to 4,632, up from 3,342. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“As a result, belated, missed and mistaken reporting occurred,” the official was quoted as saying.

The new figures were compiled by comparing data from Wuhan’s epidemic prevention and control system, the city funeral service, the municipal hospital authority, and nucleic acid testing to “remove double-counted cases and fill in missed cases,” the official was quoted as saying.

Deaths occurring outside hospitals had not been registered previously and some medical institutions had confirmed cases but reported them late or not at all, the official said.

WHO under fire

Questions have long swirled around the accuracy of China’s case reporting, with Wuhan in particular going several days in January without reporting new cases or deaths. That has led to accusations that Chinese officials were seeking to minimize the impact of the outbreak and wasting opportunities to bring it under control in a shorter time.

A group of eight medical workers, including a doctor who later died of the virus, were even threatened by police for trying to alert people about the disease over social media.

Chinese officials have stridently denied covering up cases, saying their reports were accurate and timely. However, the U.N.’s World Health Organization has come under criticism for defending China’s handling of the outbreak and President Donald Trump is suspending funding to the WHO over what he alleges is its pro-China bias.

Trump’s blaming of China came after he initially spent weeks showered praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping over the country’s performance in the pandemic, while largely dismissing the risk it posed to the U.S.

At the start of the outbreak, China proceeded cautiously and largely in secret, emphasizing political stability and the leadership of Xi’s ruling Communist Party.

More than 3,000 people had been infected before China’s government told the public that a pandemic was likely, something officials had concluded six days earlier.

The risk of sustained human-to-human transmission was also downplayed, even while infected people entered hospitals across the country and the first case outside China was found, in Thailand.

Officials even sought to shift blame to the U.S. for the outbreak, with foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeting without evidence on March 12: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan … US owe us an explanation!”

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Canada’s chief public health officer condemns racist acts linked to coronavirus outbreak

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam is calling out acts of racism and discrimination related to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Twitter, Tam said she’s troubled by the growing number of reports of racists acts and comments on social media directed at people of Chinese and Asian descent, calling them “unacceptable and very hurtful.”

“These actions create a divide of us versus them,” she tweeted. “Canada is a country built on the deep-rooted values of respect, diversity and inclusion.”

China’s National Health Commission said the country’s total number of deaths from the coronavirus had climbed to 170 by late Wednesday, as the number of those infected rose to 7,711.

Canada has confirmed three cases of the virus here, all of which originated in Wuhan, China. 

Chinese Canadians have been reporting racist incidents as fear-fuelled misinformation about the new coronavirus spreads.

Frank Ye, a student at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, has been monitoring online reaction to the coronavirus. He said he has seen posts calling Chinese people “dirty” or “disease-ridden.”

Lessons from SARS

“The spread of this virus, just like the spread of SARS, has been used to bring back a lot of anti-Chinese, anti-Asian tropes and racist stereotypes that really date back throughout centuries in Canada’s history,” Ye told The Current’s Matt Galloway this week.

In her Twitter thread, Tam called on Canadians to learn from the experience of the SARS outbreak — which also saw South East Asians subjected to racist behaviour and discrimination.

Toronto Mayor John Tory also has denounced the act of “shunning” Chinese Canadians or avoiding their businesses, calling it immoral and harmful.

“This type of thinking is wrong. It is entirely inconsistent with the advice of our health care professionals,” he said.

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‘An emerging malignancy’: Cancer linked to these breast implants no longer ‘rare’, data suggests

A cancer in women with textured breast implants is more widespread than previously believed, raising questions for patients and physicians about continuing to describe it as “rare.”

As of Dec. 20, 2019, Health Canada said it had received 106 reports describing “breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL),” including both confirmed and suspected cases. Of those, 52 were received since May 28, 2019.

That’s double the 26 confirmed Canadian cases the regulator said it had received before last May

“Two incident reports received after May 28, 2019 cite the outcome of death suspected to be associated with BIA-ALCL but those have yet to be confirmed,” Health Canada said in an email in response to questions from CBC News.

Health Canada describes BIA-ALCL on its website as “a serious but rare” type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a cancer that affects the immune system) that may develop many months or years after a breast implant procedure.

On May 28, 2019, the agency officially banned the sale and import of Biocell macrotextured breast implants produced by the company Allergan, due to an increased risk of BIA-ALCL associated with their use.


Karen Malkin-Lazarovitz says as soon as she heard her breast implants were associated with a type of lymphoma, she wanted them removed. (Submitted by Karen Malkin-Lazarovitz)

Karen Malkin-Lazarovitz, 45, of Montreal had a preventative double mastectomy because she has a BRCA2 mutation that increases the risk of ovarian and breast cancer. A surgeon then rebuilt her breasts using Biocell textured implants.

I think the numbers that we’re getting from Health Canada are really scary, even worldwide, because they’re changing so quickly.– Dr. Julia Khanna, plastic surgeon

“I removed my healthy breasts to not get cancer when I started hearing murmuring that these textured implants are dangerous,” Malkin-Lazarovitz said. “I knew from that moment I didn’t want them anymore.”

In May, Health Canada estimated the risk of developing BIA-ALCL is about one in 3,500. The estimate is a rough one given there’s no centralized system to track the number of confirmed cases or implanted patients.

Dr. Julia Khanna, a plastic surgeon in Oakville, Ont., first started using textured implants in her practice in 1999 and stopped using them in 2016. Since last May, Khanna’s been inundated with calls from patients looking for information.

“I think the numbers that we’re getting from Health Canada are really scary, even worldwide, because they’re changing so quickly,” Khanna said.

Dr. Peter Cordeiro, a reconstructive breast surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, estimated from his patients that the cancer was 10 times more prevalent that the official statistics.

Cordeiro reviewed the files of every textured implant patient he’d operated on since 1992.

“What’s been the experience of 3,546 patients?” Cordeira said at the 1st World Consensus Conference on BIA-ALCL in Rome last October. “Ten now have BIA-ALCL. I’ve submitted this data

Dr. Julia Khanna, a plastic surgeon in Oakville, Ont., is concerned with how the number of cases of BIA-ALCL is changing so quickly. (CBC)

At the same conference, Dr. Mark Clemens, an associate professor of plastic surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, titled his talk “Key Concepts on an Uncommon and Emerging Malignancy.”

“You notice I’m using a different word choice than you’re used to hearing about this disease. Usually rare, extremely rare,” Clemens said. “Instead, I think that we need to start referring to this as uncommon and an emerging malignancy.” Clemens disclosed that he was a consultant to Allergan up until 2015.

Cordeiro and Clemens were not available for interviews.

‘No way to diagnose cancer’

Terri McGregor, 55, of North Bay, Ont., had eight rounds of chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with BIA-ALCL in 2015 and continues to receive follow-up for a secondary cancer. A routine mammogram at age 50 had ruptured her Biocell textured implants, which surgeons had to remove along with scar tissue, called the capsule.

McGregor attended the conference and is concerned about the consequences of describing BIA-ALCL as rare.

“We have women in Canada presenting symptoms to their physician, and the physician is telling them that they don’t have cancer and … that they should get on with their lives because of the word rare,” McGregor said.

“What I will tell you is, [for] every single diagnosed woman I know there was a little bit of luck involved in that she landed at the right time and right place — and that is no way to diagnose cancer.”

Despite the growing number of cases, Health Canada and surgeons warn patients against removing textured implants unless they’ve tested positive for cancer because the removals are so risky.

Khanna said no medical organization in the world recommends removing the capsule, the natural scar tissue that forms around the implant, because it’s not a benign procedure and carries risk such as bleeding from major blood vessels.

Malkin-Lazarovitz had a terrible rash and itchiness for about a year that she believes were connected to the implants. She had the implants removed four months ago.

Health Canada said the new total could be revised downward, as it includes unconfirmed reports of lymphoma, and there could be double counting reports linked to a single patient.

Last year, a joint investigation by CBC News, Radio-Canada, the Toronto Star and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that deaths and serious injuries potentially tied to breast implants and other medical devices are underreported in many countries, including Canada.

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