Do Breast Implants Cause Cancer?

Will breast implants cause breast cancer? 

Doctor Answers 21

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!

Again, Breast Implants DO NOT cause cancer

Breast Implants have the rather dubious honor of having been the most intensely studied implant in the history of mankind. More money and human hours were spent studying Breast Implants than Heart Valves, Defibrillators, Pacemakers, Shunts, artificial blood vessels, hip and knee joints and all other implants combined.

While like all implants, potential complications are seen with placing breast implants, their complications are few. But - while infection, scarring (capsular contracture) and other complications ARE possible, despite hundreds of scientific articles scrutinizing implants, there is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that breast implants cause cancer.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Breast cancer

No implants do not cause breast cancer. Implants can interfere with a mammogram. The new digital mammograms are better than the older style mammograms. If the radiologist can not fully visualize your breast they may need to go to a MRI or ultrasound. One thing to know is that there is not an increased risk of the late detection of breast cancer due to implants.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 267 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 26 reviews

Breast implants and cancer

Silicone breast implants are the most studied implants.

For 15 years, they have been studied and found SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, by the FDA in 2006. You can check implant safety on the FDA site.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Breast Implants do not cause cancer

After extensive research, breast implants have not been found to cause cancer. Neither do they interfere with the ability to detect cancer, but your radiologist may have to take some extra X Rays when you go for a mammogram.

Jeffrey Horowitz, MD
Bel Air Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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 102 reviews

Breast Implants do not increase risk of breast cancer

Excellent and important question!

Multiple studies, from different countries including the U.S., have found no increased risk of breast cancer after breast augmentation.

Of course, one must still follow with mammography and annual check-up as recommended, based on age and family history of breast cancer.

The breast implant, in some cases, may actually increase the chance of early detection, as the mass will become more palpable from the implant pressing against the breast tissue.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast implant safety

There is currently no evidence linking breast implants to breast cancer, or any other disease, for that matter. Once you get your implants, you will want to make sure that you tell the mammography technicians that you have had breast augmentation. They will do some special techniques to displace the implant from the are that is being examined.

Remember that although we don't have any reason to believe that breast implants are dangerous, it is still just as important to screen for breast cancer as before. I encourage all women to be vigilant in their self examination as well as their mammography!

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.