Defective Medical Device May Cause Cancer

There are over hundreds of cancer types affecting various parts of the body. Prostate cancer is the most common one, as reported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The organization is expecting more than 240,000 new casesarising from malignant prostate gland conditions in the US in 2012. Meanwhile, pancreatic cancer holds the lowest incidence with 43,920 new cases expected in 2012. Recently, the Telegraph reports about a type of cancer resulting from metal-on-metal hip devices.

The NCI listed the most common cancer types that have the greatest frequency in the US. In no particular order, these include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon and rectal cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Kidney or renal cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Non-hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer

Cancer likely affects every body organ. The cells within malignant or cancerous tumors have the ability to invade neighboring tissues and organs, thus spreading the disease. Cancerous cells may possibly break free from the tumor and enter the bloodstream, spreading the disease to other organs.

Cancer-causing Hip Device
Results from a British study of 72 patients reveal genetic damage to the bladders of 17 patients, says the Telegraph. Of the 17 patients injured by the metal-on-metal hip replacements, three developed “full-blown cancer.”

The presence of microscopic metal parts in the circulatory system because of the metal components rubbing against each other (and flaking off) may have risen from the design problems associated with  metal-on-metal hip implant devices, like the DePuy. The tiny particles shed from metal-on-metal hip replacement implants may increase the amount of some metals in the blood, such as chromium and cobalt. This condition may result in genetic damage (genotoxicity) and blood poisoning (metallosis). Chromium and cobalt have also been linked to cancer, and might lead to the development of tumors.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, cancer has been shown in animals when cobalt was placed directly into the muscle or under the skin. Based on this research, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer includes cobalt found in hard metals as a potential carcinogen for humans.

Defective Hip Device Pulled Out of Market
After information saying that the devices have defectsin one out of eight clients, the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System were withdrawnfrom the market in 2010. There are about 93,000 recipients of these products worldwide.

 “It is a complete untruth that DePuy did not have reason to withdraw the ASR before now; we have been telling them since 2007, but they allowed it to be used on thousands of people,” says Dr. Stephen Graves, the director of the National Joint Replacement Registry in Australia.

“Many people could have avoided considerable pain, suffering and diminished quality of life if the company had acted in a responsible manner to known problems with these devices,” according to a legislative panel in Australia. Affected patients have been filing a hip replacement lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.



    More Women Experience Hip Pain

    According to government figures, about seven percent of Americans report problems with hip pain, and as with other types of chronic pain, women tend to experience it more than men. Meanwhile, the Reuters reported that Johnson & Johnson lose $3 billion dollars from its earnings quarterly, due to its hip devices recall issues.

    Women might say they have hip pain, but what they may mean is they have pain in the side of the upper thigh or upper buttock, or they may be experiencing lower back pain, says Dr. Stephanie E. Siegrist, an orthopedic surgeon in Rochester, New York and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

    Hip pain can be caused by hip joint structures, along with muscles, tendons and other tissues that act on or stabilize the hip joint. Some hip-related conditions occur on one side of the hip, while other conditions occur on both sides.

    The most common causes of hip pain in women are arthritis; hip fractures; tendinitis and bursitis; hernia; and gynecological and back issues.

    “Treatment for hip pain depends on the diagnosis, but pain that's caused by overuse or sports injuries is often treated with heat, rest, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication,” says Dr. Marc Philippon, an orthopaedic surgeon in Vail, Colo.

    Some of these hip diseases require the patient to undergo a hip replacement surgery. However, due to recent issues faced by product manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns manufacturers, medical practitioners and also the public about flawed hip devices.

    The following are some of the signs that your hip device is defective:
    • Pain bearing weight
    • Pain when rising from a seated position
    • Pain while walking
    • Pain on the thigh or groin area
    • Pain on the hip area

    It extreme cases, these hip devices may completely fail which will result in a more severe health complication. This happens when:
    • the device is not attached to the bone correctly;
    • the unit is dislocated and misaligned; and
    • the bone around the implant is fractured.

    Furthermore, defective hip devices may deposit pieces of toxic metal into the patient’s bloodstream. The body tissues may also form pseudotumors.

    With lawsuits piling up worldwide, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. should duly address the hip replacement problems encountered by its clients. It is also best that they would disseminate more information about defective hip replacement symptoms so that the patients would be given immediate medical attention. Thus, medical experts advise DePuy hip replacement clients to have their hip device checked regularly.


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