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"The Role Of The Media In The Public Understanding Of Health Issues" Breast Cancer & Silicone Implants

2020 words - 8 pages

In this paper, the writer shall debate the issue of whether or not the media play a significant role, in contributing to the publics' education of breast and other cancers, due to silicone gel breast implants, and the strategies used, if any, to promote public awareness. The reason for the writer's interest in this subject is that writer had silicone breast implants, which leaked, whereupon a second operation was undergone to remove them. The writer has also been contacted by Granada television, to appear in a programme to discuss the health risks attributed to silicone gel implants and cancer. To fully appreciate the understanding of the subject, the writer feels it necessary to explain the connection between breast cancer and silicone implants.Silicone breast implants (appendices, p; 1, Internet 12) are often used to enlarge breasts, and used in reconstructive surgery after mastectomies (removal of the breast) from cancer, and have been on the market since the American company "Dow Corning" introduced them in 1962 (Internet 5). "In the late 80's an animal study showed that silicone gel caused cancer in rats" (Internet 6). There has been much controversy in the United States over silicone breast implants, that The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have withdrawn silicone implants (Internet 7). The US government studies, have found that women who have implants are more likely have infections from their implants, to die from "brain cancer, lung cancer, other respiratory disease, and suicide, there has also been a significant 21% increase in breast cancer" (Internet 8). The manufacturers, Dow and Corning have successfully been sued by women from all over the world, (statistics unavailable), for $2.4 billion and thus forced the company into bankruptcy (Internet 6).However, in a Department of Health report in July 1998, Baroness Jay, Health Minister, "welcomed a report on the health risks associated with silicone gel implants." It was also stated, that the independent report by Independent Review Group, has also been welcomed by the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, and the British Association Aesthetic of Plastic Surgeons, "who had both signed up to the report." The Independent Review Group commented that they had no conclusive evidence of a link between silicone gel implants and other diseases (internet 11).It is here that the writer suggests that there may be a conflict of interests between the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, the Independent Review Group, and the British government. If American studies have found the implants so dangerous that they have been taken off the market, why has the British government not done so? One explanation may include huge payouts to women affected, similar to the case of Dow Corning, by not only the government, but also the plastic surgeons responsible for using these implants.October was "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," most men do not even...

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