How do silicone breast implants affect a women's risk for breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 26, 2019
  • Author: Graham A Colditz, MD, DrPH; Chief Editor: Chandandeep Nagi, MD  more...
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Most studies examining the relation of silicone breast implants with breast cancer risk have actually reported lower rates of breast cancer among women with implants. Reported reductions in risk in some of these studies have been large (on the order of 50% or 60%).

A large retrospective cohort study was conducted to clarify the relation between breast implants and subsequent breast cancer. [81] In this study, over 12,000 women who had breast implants prior to 1989 and over 3000 comparison women who had had plastic surgery not involving silicone during the same time period, responded to a medical questionnaire. In analyses based on external and internal comparisons, the women who had had breast implants were not at elevated risk of breast cancer. There was no statistically significant heterogeneity in risk according to age or calendar year in which implants were received (in part, this calendar year variable was a surrogate for type of implant), nor was there variation in risk of breast cancer by preimplantation chest or cup size.

Overall, there is strong epidemiologic evidence that breast implants do not lead to increased risk of breast cancer.

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