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Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Breast Cancer Research > Table 28: Breast implants and breast cancer risk


Table 28: Breast implants and breast cancer risk

This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables offer an informative look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, they should be viewed with some caution. In order to read and interpret research tables successfully, it is important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.

Introduction: Neither saline nor silicone breast implants appear to increase breast cancer risk. A meta-analysis that combined the results from 10 studies found no increase in breast cancer risk among women with breast implants [1].  

A few studies in the table below found a lower risk of breast cancer among women with implants. However, this is most likely due to traits of women who tend to choose breast implants (such as being lean), rather than the implants themselves [2].

Learn more about breast implants and breast cancer risk.

Breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)  

While breast implants do not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer, the FDA is looking into a possible link between implants and a slightly increased risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). ALCL is a very rare form of cancer of the cells of the immune system (occurs in breast tissue in about three in 100 million women).

The FDA does not recommend special care for women with breast implants (nor does it recommend removing implants) [3]. However, if you have breast implants and feel any pain around the implants or have other problems, see your health care provider. Read our statement on breast implants and the possible link to ALCL.

Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different types of studies.

See how this risk factor compares with other risk factors for breast cancer.

Study selection criteria: Prospective cohort studies with at least 40 breast cancer cases.

Table note: The standardized incidence ratios below compare the incidence of breast cancer among women with breast implants to incidence in the general population. A standardized incidence ratio above 1 indicates an increased risk among women with breast implants. A standardized incidence ratio below 1 indicates a decreased risk. 


Study Population
(number of women with breast implants)


Higher Risk of Developing Breast Cancer for Women with Breast Implants?  


Standardized Incidence Ratio 

Prospective cohort studies 

Pan et al. [4]

(1,521 cases)



0.54 (0.49-0.59) 

Lipworth et al. [5]

(84 cases)



0.73 (0.53-0.90)

McLaughlin et al. [6]

(53 cases)



0.7 (0.6-1.0)

Bryant and Brasher [7]

(45 cases)



0.68 (0.32-1.25)

Deapen et al. [8]

(43 cases)



0.69 (0.50-0.93)



1. Hoshaw SJ, Klein PJ, Clark BD, Cook RR, Perkins LL. Breast implants and cancer: causation, delayed detection, and survival. Plast Reconstr Surg. 107(6):1393-407, 2001.

2. Brinton LA, Brown SL, Colton T, et al. Characteristics of a population of women with breast implants compared with women seeking other types of plastic surgery. Plast Reconstr Surg. 105(3):919-27, 2000.  

3. Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in women with breast implants: Preliminary FDA findings and analyses., 2011.

4. Pan SY, Lavigne E, Holowaty EJ, et al. Canadian breast implant cohort: extended follow-up of cancer incidence. Int J Cancer. 131(7):E1148-57, 2012.

5. Lipworth L, Tarone RE, Friis S, et al. Cancer among Scandinavian women with cosmetic breast implants: a pooled long-term follow-up study. Int J Cancer. 124(2):490-3, 2009.

6. McLaughlin JK, Lipworth L, Fryzek JP, Ye W, Tarone RE, Nyren O. Long-term cancer risk among Swedish women with cosmetic breast implants: an update of a nationwide study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 19;98(8):557-60, 2006.

7. Bryant H, Brasher P. Breast implants and breast cancer--reanalysis of a linkage study. N Engl J Med. 332(23):1535-9, 1995.

8. Deapen DM, Hirsch EM, Brody GS. Cancer risk among Los Angeles women with cosmetic breast implants. Plast Reconstr Surg. 119(7):1987-92, 2007.

Updated 08/28/13