Non-silicone Breast Implants Risk of Cancer?

Can non-silicone breast implants increase the risk of breast cancer? Is it because detection is more difficult with implants or is it the implant itself that poses a risk? or both?

Doctor Answers 5


Neither silicone or saline implants have been implicated in breast cancer. A rare lymphoma (60 patients out of millions) has been linked to implants.Detection by self exam is unchanged with implants. Mammography is less sensitive with implants. Submuscular placement of the implant decreases this mammogram sensitivity less than on top of the muscle.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Breast implants of any type are not associated with breast cancer

Both saline and silicone gel implants have a silicone shell, so technically there isn't such a thing as  "non-silicone" implant. However, studies have confirmed that women with breast implants of any type do not have a higher incidence of breast cancer. While it is theoretically possible that implants can interfere with early detection by obscuring some of the breast in mammograms, studies have also found that stage at detection isn't any different either.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

No Breast Implants Known To Cause Cancer

There is no evidence that either silicone or saline implants cause breast cancer.  The main concern is that all implants can potentially interfere with the interpretation of mammograms.  There is also a possibility that, in the case of severe capsular contracture, there could be a problem in discovery of a mass on breast exam.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Can breast implants cause cancer?

There is no evidence that breast implants of any kind, saline or silicone gel, can cause breast cancer.  There has been a suggestion that a very very rare form of lymphoma occuring in the capsule around the implant may be linked to a certain type of breast implant, and this is being investigated, but there are perhaps 34-60 cases (probably more like 34 confirmed cases) out of millions and millions of women with breast implants, so this occurence would be less of a risk than being hit by lightning.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Breast implants and silicone

All breast implants used in the US at present have an outer shell made from a form of silicone.  The diffences come from what the shell is filled with...either saline (salt water) placed at the time of surgery or silicone gel placed at the time of manufacture. But there are no silicone-free breast implants. Neither type have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Frank B. McCutcheon, Jr., MD (in memoriam)
Asheville Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 3 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.