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'I'm so worried, I can't eat or sleep'

"SINCE I found out about this, I haven't been sleeping, I haven't been eating. I've been taking time off work and my doctor has me on tablets for anxiety, depression and insomnia. It's turned my whole world upside down."

That's how one woman described how her life had been torn apart after she discovered that she had suffered a rupture in a PIP breast implant.

Ann (not her real name) had her breast augmentation surgery in 2005. She is one of hundreds of women considering legal action in light of the PIP implant scandal. Right now, however, her focus is on her health.

The soon-to-be married woman in her late 20s put it bluntly: "When somebody tells you that you have what they use for filling mattresses inside your body it gets you thinking and the not knowing is absolutely terrible. It's constantly on my mind."

As a teenager, Ann was self-conscious about the size of her breasts. She had the operation, which cost just under €6,000, at Harley Medical. But about 18 months ago, she began experiencing a stabbing pain in her left breast.

Ann's family has a history of breast cancer, with both her mother and aunt dying from the disease.

Despite the pain being among the symptoms of a rupture, she didn't suspect it was caused by the implant. She said: "I thought it was something to do with my family history."

Rupture

Ann was reassured that doctors found nothing unusual in regular examinations she has due to the prevalence of breast cancer in her family. What she didn't know was that these examinations would not detect a rupture.

When news of the PIP implant scandal broke, she assumed she was not one of the affected women as she hadn't been contacted by Harley Medical.

However, two months later she received a letter from the clinic.

An MRI scan last month, which Ann had to pay for herself, confirmed a rupture in the implant in her left breast.

Now Harley Medical says it will remove the implants free of charge, but if Ann wants them replaced she will have to pay up to €2,900. She says that she hasn't decided what to do yet.

She would like to replace the implants as she has spent €3,000 on a tailored wedding dress. But added to that, she said: "There's a possibility that the wedding might have to be cancelled if I have to pay for the surgery, just because of the cost."

Irish Independent