Bra Wearers May Face Up to 125-Fold Higher Cancer Risk - Mothering Forums
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Women's Health > Bra Wearers May Face Up to 125-Fold Higher Cancer Risk
Yulia_R's Avatar Yulia_R 11:55 AM 05-19-2009
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...se-Cancer.aspx

Quote:
Medical anthropologists Sydney Singer and Soma Grismaijer -- authors of Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras -- conducted a study of over 4,000 women, and found that women who do not wear bras have a much lower risk of breast cancer.[5]

Their findings included:

Women who wore their bras 24 hours per day had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer
Women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day, but not to bed, had a 1 out of 7 risk
Women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day had a 1 out of 52 risk
Women who wore bras rarely or never had a 1 out of 168 chance of getting breast cancer
The overall difference between women who wore their bras 24-hours a day and those who did not wear bras at all was a 125-fold difference. Based on the results of this study, the link between bras and breast cancer is about three times greater than the link between cigarette smoking and cancer.


tolovemercy's Avatar tolovemercy 12:05 PM 05-19-2009
So, there's been a few threads about this lately and I totally agree. Really interesting.

I'd love to hear other's thoughts on going braless in practice. I mean, maybe if you're an A cup it's easy to just forego is altogether, but as someone who wears a 32G, it's not really a practical or comfortable option. Are there other alternatives?
Juvysen's Avatar Juvysen 12:12 PM 05-19-2009


OMG. That is CRAZY! I agree with the practice issue...
RomanCarmelMom's Avatar RomanCarmelMom 12:35 PM 05-19-2009
I'm skeptical about the results. Correlation and causation are not the same thing.
didelphus's Avatar didelphus 03:12 PM 05-19-2009
Wow, I didn't realize that people actually wore their bras to bed. Now if you just gave birth and have to wear nursing pads that's one thing but seriously, sleep in your underwire. How cozy!
ASusan's Avatar ASusan 03:29 PM 05-19-2009
Did they control for weight, or anything else?

In general, women who go braless can do so because they have small breasts. Women who wear a bra 24/7 do so because they have a lot of breast material to contain.

I never used to wear a bra to bed, but I still need one to hold in the nursing pads.
lindberg99's Avatar lindberg99 05:27 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASusan View Post
Did they control for weight, or anything else?

In general, women who go braless can do so because they have small breasts. Women who wear a bra 24/7 do so because they have a lot of breast material to contain.

I never used to wear a bra to bed, but I still need one to hold in the nursing pads.
That is a very good point. Breasts are mostly fat, right? So if you are small breasted enough that it is comfortable for you to go braless often, odds are you are probably thin too. If you're thin, you might have a much healthier diet and exercise a lot more than bigger women, both of which will decrease your rate of any type of cancer.
Yulia_R's Avatar Yulia_R 05:45 PM 05-19-2009
What do you guys think about the metal underwire point? It does make sense, I should say...
Karamom 07:32 PM 05-19-2009
I have really big breasts and hate to wear a bra because I get so sweaty underneath them with one on (TMI sorry!) So around the house I never wear a bra but I do in public because my breasts sag too much and it would not look good Anyway my point is that its not only small breasted women who may go without.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 07:38 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by didelphus View Post
Wow, I didn't realize that people actually wore their bras to bed.
My mom is large-breasted and has worn a bra to bed for as long as I can remember. I actually didn't realize until I was in my teens that all women didn't do this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karamom View Post
I have really big breasts and hate to wear a bra because I get so sweaty underneath them with one on (TMI sorry!)
I'm an A-cup, so I can't relate, but doesn't it still get sweaty under your breasts without a bra? I would think it would be more uncomfortable if they're hanging down, because there'd be more skin-to-skin contact....?
Fujiko's Avatar Fujiko 07:41 PM 05-19-2009
How do you go without? I wear bras 24/7 because my nipples chafe. Plus my nipples always poke out (). I'm an A cup but I could never figure this out. I would do it if I could. (btw I hate underwires. they're the devil.)
Ruthla's Avatar Ruthla 07:46 PM 05-19-2009
I wear a bra to bed when I have PMS and during my period. My breasts are heavy and full and they HURT if I don't wear a bra. But I have "leisure bras" that I wear for sleeping in (a habit I started after my first was born.) They're loose and stretchy and don't constrict anything (but they do provide enough support to releive pain caused by swollen breasts and gravity.)

I also wonder if this study controlled for different kinds of bras. Did they account for bras that fit vs bras that don't fit properly (and might cut in somehere?) Did they account for underwire vs softcup bras? I can't go out in public without a bra (I literally sag down past my waist and I just don't feel it's modest enough) but I haven't worn an underwire bra in over a decade.

I'm also wondering if there are any other factors that are causing both bralessness and lack of cancer- maybe "crunchier" women who eschew bras are also more likely to eat organic foods, not use chemical body care products, etc?
Karamom 07:49 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post



I'm an A-cup, so I can't relate, but doesn't it still get sweaty under your breasts without a bra? I would think it would be more uncomfortable if they're hanging down, because there'd be more skin-to-skin contact....?
I'm think without a bra I have better air circulation. With a bra they are all squished up LOL. Since I am leaning over and moving during the day without a bra they get air. It does sound backwards but that's how it works for me. By the way I am so envious of your A cup I always thought small breasts were more attractive.
alegna's Avatar alegna 07:50 PM 05-19-2009
Hmm, interesting. I wonder what all they controlled for- weight, breasdt size, breastfeeding, other lifestyle factors, etc.

-Angela
EviesMom's Avatar EviesMom 08:15 PM 05-19-2009
Uh yeah. I'm kinda dizzy from the spin Mercola has put on that study, which might or might not have been well done. Yes, small chested women in their 20s who rarely wear bras are probably 168 times less likely to be diagnosed with cancer RIGHT NOW than large chested and overweight women in their 80s who wear them to bed. That's about all I can really glean from the piece. There are about 40 million variables involved here, and it doesn't, at least in this article, appear that they've accounted for very many of them.

I'll keep wearing my bras, some of which are underwire and some of which are not. I happen to like my DDs (DDD while I'm nursing) remaining above my waistline, thanks. The underwire thing is total woo-woo in my opinion, and while I'm pretty woo-woo myself, that's too out there even for me.

I don't wear them to bed, and but I don't think it has anything to do with cancer! (Let's see, in my large chested, but also frequently breastfeeding family, I think we have 1 case of breast cancer. And I have lots of relatives, being that my grandfather was 1 of 14; grandmother was 1 of 5. So family reunion direct relatives I guess about 50 women. And the 1 case of cancer was a gal who never had kids and never nursed. And who smoked like a chimney. I'm not too worried about my personal risks. Of course, I've nursed for 5 years straight currently and am still going strong! That I think does help. )
Bri'sgirl's Avatar Bri'sgirl 08:18 PM 05-19-2009
This is something I've heard about for years, but never gave much thought to.

I wear cami's that have the built in shelf bra. I wonder if these would be the same risk as wearing a bra or not. They are not sized to cup size...just a regular shelf bra. I'm a large B/small C, depending on the brand.
jjawm's Avatar jjawm 08:59 PM 05-19-2009
I'm not worried. As pp said, it sounds like a pretty flawed study.
Liquesce's Avatar Liquesce 09:05 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjawm View Post
I'm not worried. As pp said, it sounds like a pretty flawed study.
: I put about as much stock in this finding as I do in the HIV/circ studies.
PaulaJoAnne's Avatar PaulaJoAnne 09:32 PM 05-19-2009
A truly well fitted bra, that does not contain metals in the wires, will not cause problems.
If it fits tight and does not allow the lymph nodes to drain properly, then problems can arise later. But not necessarily cancer.
MayBaby2007's Avatar MayBaby2007 09:37 PM 05-19-2009
That is interesting.

I read THIS site awhile ago. I often play around w/the idea of going bra-free...but I don't think I can do that, yk? I'm 38DDD but according to that site, going bra free can help perk up the ladies. I'm not daring enough to venture out and about w/o a bra yet.

Quote:

Sorry, bras might make your breasts sag more.

You have ligaments in your breasts. They are designed to hold your breasts up. If you wear a bra for years—or, worse yet, wear a bra 24 hours a day for years—these ligaments will atrophy (get weaker and smaller).

The good news: If you stop wearing a bra these ligaments should get stronger and you should find your breasts perkier within about about three months.

Even if you have huge breasts...

Even if you have huge breasts, you should see significant improvement.

But, you say, someone told you that breasts don't have ligaments. Not so.

In nearly a quarter-century of watching patients free their breasts from artificial supports, I've personally seen the results. Try it.
Interesting.
vegasgrl's Avatar vegasgrl 10:05 PM 05-19-2009
I went through a period of severe underemployment where I was WAH for about a year and a half. I only wear a bra if I leave the house, and I very very rarely left the house during this time, maybe like once or twice a month. (Really not a healthy time for me. ) I noticed ZERO difference in the girls. Gravity, sadly, seems to have far outweighed any added ligament strength.
Juvysen's Avatar Juvysen 10:08 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
That is interesting.

I read THIS site awhile ago. I often play around w/the idea of going bra-free...but I don't think I can do that, yk? I'm 38DDD but according to that site, going bra free can help perk up the ladies. I'm not daring enough to venture out and about w/o a bra yet.



Interesting.
but... but... what about all the low-hanging ladies on National Geographic that NEVER wore bras...?
MayBaby2007's Avatar MayBaby2007 10:28 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
but... but... what about all the low-hanging ladies on National Geographic that NEVER wore bras...?
: Good point.

There is an MDC mama who has www.brafree.org in her sig. I can't remember who. Maybe she'll see this thread and shed some light?
Periwinkle's Avatar Periwinkle 10:31 PM 05-19-2009
Interesting but there are so many confounding variables.

Women who do NOT wear bras are a pretty unique group, I'd say, and for example might be:

* "Crunchier" and more likely to be healthy
* ... and eat well
* ... and have breastfed
* ... and exercise
* ... and be a normal weight
* ... and not take medicines
* ... and do things like yoga or meditation
* ... and on and on and on.
Liquesce's Avatar Liquesce 10:33 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
but... but... what about all the low-hanging ladies on National Geographic that NEVER wore bras...?
I didn't start wearing a bra until well after my breasts developed ... they got much perkier in general after I started wearing one.
holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 10:39 PM 05-19-2009
Quote:
Wow, I didn't realize that people actually wore their bras to bed.
I wear a bra all the time- even to bed. I have big boobs and a smallish frame- not pregnant I am either a 34 or 36 DDD/E. I am very uncomfortable not wearing a bra. My breasts are sooooo heavy it hurts just about everything not to wear one- especially when preggers and nursing. When I sleep without one I loose sleep from the discomfort and it makes it harder to breath for some reason.
ursusarctos's Avatar ursusarctos 06:28 AM 05-20-2009
I am the one with the www.brafree.org link
The front page sums up the views of the doctor who created the page concisely, and she has a long, thorough list of suggestive research with comments here.
She doesn't outright state that breast cancer is caused by bras, but she does believe that they could very well be connected, particularly underwire bras because they cut off the lymph flow around your breasts.
I personally found her page convincing enough to stop wearing a bra altogether about a year and a half ago, and at that time I was a D cup (I have since "deflated" to a large C cup; I think part of the D cup was swelling caused by wearing underwire all the time since I was 14). I found that wearing a camisole under my shirt did wonders for nipple concealment and moderate bounce control without constricting my breasts.
According to DP my breasts also firmed up a few months after I stopped wearing a bra... my guess is that the ligaments had regained their strength. I have noticed a tiny bit more sagging since I stopped wearing a bra, but I really don't know if that's because my breasts haven't been supported or just because I'm a year and a half older now. I wouldn't call them saggy anyway, they're just not quite as plump as they used to be.
I am also curious about the National Geo women who never wear a bra... I think that early, repeated childbearing probably has something to do with it at least. Also, the ligaments in the breast are not connected to the deep muscle layer I believe (?) so they can "slide" down with time. Though breasts sag with childbearing anyway so I don't know if supporting them really helps. I've come to believe that breasts are just not meant to be perky for a woman's entire life cycle and I'm trying not to care too much
Anyway, I hope that helps. I also don't put much stock in the study mentioned in the OP, though I did come across it early in my research about bra wearing. It is suggestive, though as many have pointed out it didn't control for any other factors and correlation does not prove causation.
cushsb's Avatar cushsb 06:43 AM 05-20-2009
as much as i think women should go off bras more often, i think the study is flawed. It's more a correlation than anything else.

it's kind of like making a survey for people cancer with the question do you like the color red? and a majority said yes, the conclusion would be people who like the color red have X% chance of getting cancer.
Juvysen's Avatar Juvysen 11:07 AM 05-20-2009
I dunno, I mean, obviously no one should draw conclusions from a correlative study, BUT, it can direct further study. A correlative one that controls for lifestyle might be somewhat enlightening, but beyond that, what happens when they block the lymph ducts in rats? Have there been studies about that? What about having metal on the rat long term? I dunno, I guess it seems like it could be useful for at least guiding future research.
ursusarctos's Avatar ursusarctos 11:49 AM 05-20-2009
Personally I feel that there is a common sense aspect to not wearing bras as well: breasts were clearly created to move. A lot. All the time. Just think of how much your breasts bounce around (even just a little bit) when you move. If they were supposed to be still, they would be naturally.
Breasts are largely made of fat, which stores toxins. Lymph drains toxins. We are exposed to a large number of environmental toxins every day. If the breasts are constricted by tight bras, they are not able to move and thus help maintain the movement of the lymph (which does not move on its own as blood does) and so the breast fat retains more (cancerous) toxins.
Bras have only been widely worn for about 50 years or so, and during that time breast cancer rates have shot up (as has the level of toxic chemicals in our environment and our food and the rates of sedentary lifestyles, of course). I certainly don't think bra wearing is the only factor, but I think it is very plausible that it has something to do with it. Again, I think brafree.org presents the available evidence and possible conclusions that could be drawn from it thoroughly and unbiasedly.
Though I didn't initially stop wearing a bra for health reasons, but rather for comfort, because I find bras uncomfortable and my breasts are always swollen and unhappy after a day of wearing one. I don't think there is a whole lot of harm in a soft, not-too-tight, non-underwire bra, however, and I will probably wear one when (if) I am pregnant and nursing.
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