Dawn Criss

Alberta, Canada

My name is Dawn Criss and I am from Alberta, Canada, and I have travelled here at my own expense. I received my textured breast implants in 2008 when I was 38 years old and I was not warned of any link to diseases or cancer.

For 6 years I was healthy and working.  Then in 2014 I experienced intestinal issues, chronic fatigue, unexplained rashes and itching and massive hair loss. After months of suffering, my body shut down and I was hospitalized for blood loss and Severe Ulcerative Colitis.

In 2017, my left breast swelled up twice its size. My physician referred me for an ultrasound guided needle aspiration to test for Lymphoma and an MRI to look for rupture. Both results were negative.

Despite my negative tests, I decided to remove my textured implants and replace them with smooth. On December 2017, I had my first explant surgery and it was determined that I had double capsules. The left inside capsule and implant surface tested positive for BIA ALCL.  5 weeks later I had a second surgery to remove the outside capsules and the new implants.

Since my explant last January, all of my autoimmune symptoms have subsided. In the last year, I have had only one major flare up in which it took mere weeks to recover instead of months.

New patients need to know the risks of breast implants. The Directions for Use given to plastic surgeons lists numerous concerns such as autoimmune issues, gel movement without rupture and depression. This information is given to plastic surgeons, but NOT to the patient. Therefore, the patient cannot make a well-informed decision. Transparent, informed consent with a two paged surgeon/patient checklist and a black box warning should be a priority for all new patients.

Please understand that not all women have obvious symptoms of this cancer and some of them don’t know about this disease until it is too late. False negatives from fluid collection is a common occurrence that cannot be ignored and testing capsule tissue after explant can no longer be the only acceptable way to diagnosis. The long-term safety of all breast implants needs to be investigated.  This should include BIA ALCL as well as the autoimmune symptoms typical of breast implant illness.

While all breast implants can cause an immune response, textured ones have now been proven to cause this man-made cancer. Please! Take textured implants off the market! Continue studies through a non biased organization to obtain accurate data from our current patient population and include finding a more accurate way for testing and diagnosis that does not leave a patient at risk.  We need to be able to work together within our health care systems to make sure that no one is denied testing or treatment because of their financial status regardless if breast implants were an elective choice or not.

Cancer is a hard reality for many of us to deal with. It affects not only our bodies but our minds, our relationships, our working ability and our own sense of security. For even the strongest believers, it takes away HOPE. Cancer was NOT a choice and we sure as heck didn’t elect to get it.

Dawn testified at the FDA Advisory Committee Meeting on breast implants in March 2019.