Whilst there has been the bare minimum of publicity about it, it could be argued that bras are as significant to breast cancer as smoking is to lung cancer.
In the book “Dressed to Kill” by medical anthropologists Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, study data was put forward as compelling evidence that bras may have a dramatic impact upon breast cancer rates.
Singer and Grismaijer noticed that in cultures where women were “bra-free”, women had similar breast cancer rates to men. The Maori of New Zealand, Aboriginals of Australia, Fijians and Japanese who did not wear bras all had exceptionally low breast cancer levels. Even more compelling was that when these cultures were “Westernised” and women started wearing bras, they ended up with breast cancer rates equivalent to Western women.
How long should you wear a bra for?
Singer and Grismaijer conducted a study on over 4,700 US women across five major US cities. Approximately half of the women involved in the study had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. The study determined what bra wearing habits these women had, and in particular, their behaviour prior to diagnosis.
The study data indicated that the longer you wear your bra each day, the greater the likelihood of your developing breast cancer. They reported that:
- 3 out of 4 women who wore their bras 24 hours per day developed breast cancer.
- 1 out of 7 women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day, developed breast cancer.
- 1 out of 152 women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day got breast cancer.
- Only 1 out of 168 women who wore bras rarely (or never) were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Unfortunately, the US National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the US National Institute of Health all refused to acknowledge this data. This is despite other studies that have offered supporting evidence, such as a study of 3,918 cases of breast cancer and 11,712 controls from seven centres in the United States.
This particular study found that premenopausal women who did not wear bras only had half the level of risk of breast cancer, compared with women who did wear bras.
The opposing argument was that typically, those women who do not wear bras have smaller breasts and are thinner. Therefore, breast size could be used as an indicator of cancer risk, rather than the presence, or absence of a bra.
Whilst we cannot say for certain what the truth of the matter is without further research, I believe this data is an excellent starting point for further study. If this data is valid, it is vitally important, because many women have absolutely no idea that their bra could be so detrimental to their health.
“We have no evidence that going braless hurts you” – Patricia Geraharty
Why might a bra cause cancer?
Singer and Grismaijer believed that the trigger for the increase in cancer risk was the fact that bras restricted the flow of fluids within the lymphatic system, leading to a buildup of fluid within breast tissue. They hypothesised that toxins in the lymphatic system could collect in the breast lymphatic vessels due to the constriction caused by the bra. The concentration of these toxins within the breast tissue could then ultimately lead to cancer.
According to Dr David Williams MD, “wearing a bra at least 14 hours a day tends to increase the hormone prolactin, which decreases circulation in the breast tissue. Decreasing circulation can impede your body’s natural removal of carcinogenic fluids that become trapped in the breast’s sac-like glands (lymphnodes). These glands make up the largest mass of lymph nodes in the upper part of your body’s lymphatic system.”
I think this data is compelling enough to certainly avoid wearing a bra if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer. If you haven’t, then you should still perhaps limit your use of one. Certainly, further study should be undertaken, but sadly it appears that none of the cancer research organisations are even looking into it, having dismissed it out of hand.
If you were cynical, you might wonder if the multibillion turnover of the brassiere and fashion industry, or multibillion chemotherapy and radiotherapy spend on breast cancer had anything to do with it.
You can read more on the biases of the cancer research community in the Cancer Research section of Cancer Uncensored – Your Step By Step Guide to Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Cancer Survival.Leave a reply