Do Breast Implants Cause Cancer?

Will breast implants cause breast cancer? I am planning to go for breast implants. After breast feeding, my breast is flat. However, I am concerned about cancer being a possible side effect

Doctor Answers (20)

Breast implants and cancer


There is no known causal link between breast implants and cancer, and this has been repeatedly conveyed in the scientific literature over decades.

Rather, the academic literature has shown that women with breast implants actually may pick up cancers at the same time or even earlier, given that they are more in tune with their breast anatomy after having undergone BA and doing implant massage, and that the implants may act as a "platform" for a palpable lestion.

Most plastic surgeons would agree that their postoperative breast augmentation patients are far more obsessive about changes in the appearance or feel of their breasts after the implants have been placed than the average woman who does not have implants.

Indeed, it is important that women alert their mammographer that they have breast implants in place and their location (submuscular or subglandular). The mammographer will perform a couple of extra views on mammography called Eklund views which will attempt to push the implant towards the chest wall while compressing the breast tissue together in order to assess it. Submuscular, smaller implants tend to impart better visualization than larger, subglandular ones.

The most important thing for women over 40 to do (and women younger than that with a strong family history) is to get an annual mammogram to check for occult breast cancer. This can save a life!

Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Breast implants and cancer


This is a question that comes up quite often in consultation. They do not cause cancer. There has never been any data to support this. Some doctors do believe that if there is a risk of breast cancer in the family that the patient may want to opt for saline versus silicone as there have been concerns raised as to the risk of silicone implants making it more difficult to detect mammographic irregularities. But I am not familiar with any scientific data to support that.

William J. Hedden, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 132 reviews

Breast implants and cancer


There is no scientific data that shows a link between breast cancer and breast implants. Keep in mind that we frequently use implants in patients who had breast cancer, and these patients are at higher risk for developing breast cancer in the opposite breast. For example, we might reconstruct a mastectomy with an implant and put a small implant in the non-affected breast. Even in these patients at higher risk of developing breast cancer, breast implants are believed to be safe, based on scientific data. Hope this helps.

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

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Breast Implants and Cancer


It's been shown and proven over and over to not be the case. Breast Implants do not cause cancer even if the silicone leaks out of the implant. Any case that seems like it could've been the silicone was taken against Dow Corning back in the day and a massive class action suit was involved. Today, we simply move forward and now that the FDA has approved it, we use them regularly. Nobody would be putting in these implants if there were the merest suggestion that this implication is real. It's not. The breast implant is the most studied medical device in US History.

Best Wishes,


Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

No identifed link between Breast Cancer and Implants


To date, there are NO studies linking breast cancer to implants.

In fact some studies have shown a lower than expected rate of breast cancer in patients with implants. This may be more reflective of selection bias. In oversimplified terms, who gets more weeds a one acre lot or a two acre lot? Women with small breasts tend to have a lower rate of breast cancer and these are the women who seek breast implants. In fact there are some European studies which have shown that the rate of breast cancer can be reduced in women who undergo breast reduction. Furthermore some people feel that is easier to perform a breast examination in a women with implants.

Having said that, there are numerous issues related to women with breast implants:

  • More mammogram views are required
  • An MRI is better than a mammogram
  • Submuscular location is preferred over subglandular location
  • In women with breast cancer who undergo reconstruction, the diagnosis of a recurrence may be delayed but most studies have not shown a difference in survival.

With that in mind, if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, you may want to reconsider implant augmentation.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Breast implants and cancer - an Internet hoax


There are multiple studies showing that breast implants do not cause cancer. In fact, the most common way that breast cancer patients are currently being reconstructed is through placement of a submuscular breast implant.

Unfortunately, scare sites abound on the Internet and they suggest that these implants cause cancer. Instead of educating women through science, they scare them away from a time-tested procedure which has been shown to be not only effective but, more importantly, safe!

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Do Breast Implants Cause Cancer?

Hello!  Thank you for your question!  This a great question, which is often asked by patients.  The answer is no - there is no link to breast implants, either saline or silicone, and cancer.  All supporting literature has demonstrated this fact and no association with cancer, autoimmune disorders, or autoinflammatory disorders.  

It is known that women are more in tune with their breasts and more diligent with examination and feeling/knowing the contour of her breasts, thus able to identify any abnormality sooner.  Imaging studies of the breasts are similar to imaging without breast implants and cancers are not hidden either by the presence of breast implants.  You should remain proactive with your monthly self examination, annual clinical examination, and mammograms beginning at age 40 (unless family history, as directed by the Radiological Society).

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Breast Implants and Cancer


There is no data what so ever to support the claim that breast implants cause cancer, or any sort. They are the most studied medical device in the history of the FDA, more than heart valves, pacemakers, etc. They are safe and do not cause any systemic problems.

Christopher V. Pelletiere, MD
Barrington Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Breast Implants DO NOT cause cancer


Breast implants have been ewxtensively studied. They do not cause cancer. The incidence of cancer in women with implants is the same as those without implants. In those with cancer, the cancer is at the same stage in those with implants as compared to those without.

Mark D. Epstein, MD
Stony Brook Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 139 reviews

Breast Implants do not cause breast cancer


Breast implants do not cause breast cancer. Breast implants (saline or silicone) do not cause any medical diseases or illnesses, this has been thoroughly studied and proven. However, breast implants can make the detection of breast cancer via mammogram more difficult because the implants themselves can obscure some of the breast tissue on the x-ray. Approximately 10% of a patient's breast tissue can not be visualized on a mammogram if they have implants in place. However, there are special techniques for performing mammograms on women with breast implants in order to view as much breast tissue as possible.

Please discuss this further with your plastic surgeon prior to breast augmentation.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 135 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.