Julie Harris, who has cancer caused by her breast implants
Julie Harris has helped countless women undergo breast surgery.
As a consultant nurse for two decades at the Harley Medical Group in Manchester, she sat down with hundreds of women and advised them to have implants inserted.
Mrs Harris, 57, was so confident in the technology that she underwent the procedure herself.
Initially, in 2005, she had PIP implants inserted.
But when fears started to emerge in 2012 that PIP implants could leak, Mrs Harris had them removed and were replaced with Allergan implants.
Tragically, in August this year, she was diagnosed with breast implant acquired anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
Her doctors are worried the cancer has spread to her arm and Mrs Harris, a mother of two from Cheshire, is now undergoing a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy in a bid to save her life.
If that works she will have to have a gruelling bone marrow transplant next year.
‘If anyone had breathed a word about cancer risk I would never have had the Allergan implants,’ she said.
‘Having gone through the scare over the PIP implants I would not have done that again.
‘I would just have had them removed and had an uplift.’
Mrs Harris is furious that other women have been put at risk thanks to her advice.
‘None of the patients were given fully informed consent, because I did not have that information myself,’ she said.
‘Everything I knew, I told them, but I could not tell them about the cancer risks because I was never told.’
The first case of BIA-ALCL was recorded as long ago as 1997 – but until recently patients were not told of the risk.
Even when Mrs Harris’s left breast started swelling up in 2016, the chance of lymphoma was disregarded.
‘I was told there was just a 1 in 300,000 chance that the implants would cause cancer,’ she said.
‘The chance was seen as too small to be real, so it was dismissed.
‘Now we know it is more common.
‘Yes, it is still very rare, but we need more people and health professionals to know about it and recognise it, so other women are not put in the same position as me.’
Julie Harris (right) with her daughter Kelly on her wedding day last month