Can Wearing An Underwire Bra Cause Breast Cancer A Gynaecologist Busts The Myth
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So many women across the world battle the menace of breast cancer. The World Health Organization observed that there were 7.8 million women alive, who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years. This makes this disease, the worlds most prevalent cancer. While there are various factors associated with breast cancer, there is a growing trend of linking underwire bras with breast cancer.
A number of women wear an underwire bra, for reasons ranging from the support and upliftment it provides to its aesthetic advantages. However, there is a myth that wearing this particular type of bra can cause breast cancer.
To better understand the particulars of whether any link exists between wearing an underwire bra and prevalence of breast cancer, we spoke to Dr Sunita Varma, Director, Obs and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.
Can wearing an underwire bra cause breast cancer?
According to Dr Varma, it does not cause breast cancer. She adds that there is a myth that it blocks the lymphatic flow and blood flow, due to its tight fitting, leading to breast cancer. And the expert also pointed out that this myth has been disproved.
She explained how there are various risk factors associated with breast cancer, such as obesity, alcohol consumption, late stage pregnancy, family history, and genetic disposition.
What is breast cancer?
Symptoms and diagnosis
Can Wearing An Underwire Bra Cause Breast Cancer
The claim that bra-wearing can put women at serious risk for breast cancer has been around for almost 20 years. Does this idea hold any truth? Dr. Laura Hutchins, a UAMS medical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer, says that there is not enough evidence to support this idea.
According to a Scientific American article this myth began with the publication of a book in the mid-90s, that claimed that women who wear tight-fitting bras with underwire have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not. The authors suggest that bras can compress the lymphatic system of the breast, causing toxins to become trapped in the breast tissue to cause cancer.
The overall consensus among doctors is that neither the type of bra worn nor the tightness of undergarments has any connection to the risk of breast cancer.
Dr. Hutchins also commented that the belief that physical trauma to the breast, such as being hit or kicked, can also cause cancer.
Patients sometimes report previous trauma in the area of the breast where cancer develops at a later date, she says. So far, as can be determined, these occurrences are coincidental.
Wearing A Bra Doesnt Increase Your Risk For Breast Cancer
Well bust this myth right off the bat. Despite what you might have heard, Dr. Blake says wearing a bra doesnt increase your chances of getting breast cancer.
From a breast cancer standpoint, wearing a bra doesnt impact your risk of breast cancer. Ive been asked before if underwire bras can affect someones breast cancer risk and they do not. So, wearing a bra doesnt increase, nor does it decrease, your risk for breast cancer.
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Myth : Going Braless Reduces The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Another myth about going braless is that it could reduce a persons risk of developing breast cancer.
This myth is based on the idea that wearing a bra affects lymphatic drainage, which is the process that helps remove toxins and waste products from the body. A problem with lymphatic drainage can cause these substances to accumulate in the bloodstream, potentially increasing a persons risk of developing cancer.
According to the
Does Wearing A Bra Cause Breast Cancer
If you have wondered if wearing a bra can cause breast cancer, you are not alone.
A 2014 study of 748 adults in Cork, Ireland, was conducted to test for knowledge of risk factors for breast cancer. Fully 29% of the participants believed that wearing a tight bra could increase breast cancer risk. A more recent study in February, 2019, of women in Brazil placed the risk of breast cancer from wearing an underwire bra at 58.5%! In this study, the younger you were, the more convinced that breast cancer could be caused by wearing a bra.
So lets see where this notion came from and what the scientists say is true.
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How Can You Know If Breast Cancer Has Spread
A clue is symptoms that reflect where the cancer has spreadfor example, a cough or shortness of breath if it has reached the lungs. To confirm a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, an oncologist may use a number of tests, such as imaging or blood tests. If the lungs are involved, this might be an X-ray or ultrasound of the chest and/or a bronchoscopy. If the brain is involved, an MRI of the brain may be performed.
Do Bras Really Cause Breast Cancer
The short answer to this question is no, bras do not cause breast cancer. The study of breast cancer and cancers in general is extremely challenging, and no one can really point to one cause in particular for most forms of cancer. There are some clear risk factors for breast cancer that scientists have agreed on after years of studies, however. Contrary to the facts in chain letters that many people have read, the risks of things like bras, implants, and underarm deodorant have yet to be proven through scientific study.
The controversy was triggered in 1995 when two men published a study that they claimed proved a positive link between bras and breast cancer. Unfortunately, this study is a classic example of a very common problem in science: the tendency to link correlation with causation. The group of women in the study was too small to draw any meaningful conclusions, and the higher rates of breast cancer in women who used bras could have been attributed to a number of factors.
Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced theexciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College andspends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.
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Can Nipple Piercing Cause Breast Cancer
Nipple piercings have become a popular trend. But theres currently no evidence that having pierced nipples increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
However, the area pierced is at risk of infection, at the time of the piercing and as long as you wear the jewellery, possibly even longer.
Does Stress Cause Cancer
Theres no conclusive evidence that stress increases your risk of breast cancer.
A number of studies have looked at the links between stress and breast cancer, but there isnt enough evidence to show a clear association.
Stress can be linked to a rise in other lifestyle behaviours, such as being less active or drinking alcohol, which could increase your risk of breast cancer.
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Im Still Not Convincedhow Do I Know These Breast Cancer Bra Rumors Arent True
- The Evidence Isnt There: The rumors originate from only one study by husband and wife team Singer and Grismaijer. This research was never considered fit for peer review. It completely ignored other known risk factors for breast cancer plus the participants actually knew the predicted outcome of the investigation!
- What About Men? Think about it: men can get breast cancer too and yet they dont wear bras. This surely wouldnt make sense if bra-wearing was a leading cause of breast cancer.
- History Tells a Different Tale:Breast cancer has been around far longer than bras. As far back as 1600 BC the first mentions of cancerous breast tumorsA mass of cells that can be benign or malignant. in humans were described on the Edwin Smith Papyrus. Bras, on the other hand, only replaced the corset in the late 19th century and werent made in their current form until well into the 1930s.
Do Bras Promote Or Prevent Sagging
Sports medicine specialist Prof. Jean-Denis Rouillon carried out a 15-year study to assess whether bras cause sagging. The study involved 330 females aged 1535 years.
Rouillons findings suggested that wearing a bra can weaken the chest muscles, thereby promoting sagging. Rouillon concluded that going braless encourages the chest muscles to work harder to elevate the breasts.
There is no official published study of Rouillons findings and no peer review. As such, it is not possible to evaluate the validity of the research.
Marco Klinger, Head of the Operating Unit of Plastic Surgery at Humanitas Research Hospital in Italy, states that the study is too small to be an accurate representation of breast sagging in the general population.
According to Klinger, a wide range of variables are likely to affect breast sagging. These include:
According to a 2013 study, large breasts are associated with the following symptoms:
- neck and back pain
- nerve irritation
Many people with large breasts claim that their breasts are the cause of their back pain. However, according to the Womens Health Research Institute of Northwestern University, even large breasts are rarely the primary cause of back pain.
Instead, back pain may be due to:
- wearing a badly fitting bra
- having overweight or obesity
- injury to the back muscles
- irritation of the spinal nerves
- osteoporosis, or weakening of the spine
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The Importance Of Study Design For Research On Abortion And Breast Cancer Risk
Some case-control studies have suggested abortion may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer . However, the design of case-control studies makes the accuracy of their results questionable.
Case-control studies rely on the reporting of past behavior. When it comes to a sensitive subject like abortion, this can have a big impact on the information gathered.
The cases in these studies may be more likely to give complete information about their abortion history than the controls . The controls may not be as comfortable sharing this personal information as the women diagnosed with breast cancer who are interested in whether personal health history is related to breast cancer. Such differences in reporting can bias study results.
Prospective cohort studies are much more likely to give accurate results on topics such as abortion. These studies gather sensitive information before women are diagnosed with breast cancer. This helps limit biased reporting.
Cohort studies show abortion isnt linked to breast cancer risk .
Why Would Anyone Think That
In the United States, most women wear a bra for breast support. Wearing a bra can decrease the strain on Coopers suspensory ligaments and reduce back pain. Bra-related breast support reduces the risk of damage to fat tissue in the breast associated with vigorous physical activity, and decreases bothersome pain symptoms in women who are breastfeeding a baby.
Unsubstantiated claims in the lay media have linked bra use as a possible risk factor for breast cancer. How? Constraining breast tissue, so the thinking goes, may harm lymphatic drainage, and with it the removal of waste and toxins from the breast.
Although few well-designed studies on the topic exist, no studies to date have found a link between breast cancer and bra use. The study from Fred Hutchinson researchers shows no connection. Ditto the only earlier study of the subject, from the Harvard School of Public Health.
This may not be the last word on the subject, since the Fred Hutchinson study had some limitations. Interviewing women after they had developed breast cancer can lead to recall bias, particularly with regards to historical data such as the age at which they started wearing a bra. In addition, the study included only women who wore bras. A prospective cohort study that recruited women who do not wear bras and following them over time would be a better way to observe the link or lack of one between wearing a bra and breast cancer.
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Your Bra Could Kill You And Other Breast Cancer Myths Busted
Rumours around the causes of breast cancer persist but the evidence for these claims doesnt always stack up
A diagnosis of breast cancer can be frightening, and many of the known risk factors genetics, ageing, being a woman are beyond our control. That is why myths are attractive. They sell us the idea that there is something simple we can do to protect ourselves from cancer. We look at three of the most common myths.
Why Does The False Theory Of Bras Causing Breast Cancer Persist
Its not clear why a theory that bras cause breast cancer, a theory that has been thoroughly disproven, persists. Perhaps it comes from the frustration of not knowing what causes the disease, coupled with a desire that the disease should come from the outside, from something a woman can control.
In any case, lets stop worrying about breast cancer being caused by wearing a bra!
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What Do The Experts Say
The National Cancer Institute states that bras have not been shown to increase a womans risk of breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society states, There are no scientifically valid studies that show wearing bras of any type causes breast cancer.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health states, Breast implants, using antiperspirants, and wearing underwire bras do not raise your risk for breast cancer.
Is It Possible To Diagnose Breast Cancer Early
Yes. The most effective way to catch breast cancer while it’s easiest to treat and before it can spread is with regular screening mammograms. For women at average risk of breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends those who are:
- Between 40 to 45 have optional yearly mammograms
- Between 45 to 54 have yearly mammograms
- 55 and older switch to mammograms every other year or, if they prefer, continue to have them yearly
The ACS recommends women at high risk of breast have a mammogram and, in some cases, a breast MRI every year starting at age 30.
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Where Did The Rumor That Bras Cause Breast Cancer Come From
The beginning of this theory was a one-two publication punch in the 90s.
First was a 1991 paper from the Harvard School of Public Health entitled, Breast size, handedness, and breast cancer risk. This paper described a study of about 15,000 women in which breast cup size and handedness were related to breast cancer.
The strongest finding in the study was that, for premenopausal women, there was an association of increased breast size with increased cancer risk.
When the authors looked at whether women who got breast cancer wore a bra more frequently, they found a trend towards more cancer in these women. This trend was not big enough to be statistically significant however.
And the authors were careful to point out that the women who were more likely to wear a bra were also the ones with larger breasts and tended to be overweight. They said, There was a suggestion that, among premenopausal women, those who did not wear a bra had a lower risk of breast cancer. The association, if real, could point to obesity or breast size as the relevant factor.
This was followed in 1995 by the book, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. Here the authors, Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer claimed that women who wore tight-fitting bras all day, every day, had a much higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who went au naturel. The authors claimed that by inhibiting lymphatic drainage, bras trapped toxins in the breast tissue, which caused cancer.
Breast Cancer Cell Lines
Part of the current knowledge on breast carcinomas is based on in vivo and in vitro studies performed with cell lines derived from breast cancers. These provide an unlimited source of homogenous self-replicating material, free of contaminating stromal cells, and often easily cultured in simple standard media. The first breast cancer cell line described, BT-20, was established in 1958. Since then, and despite sustained work in this area, the number of permanent lines obtained has been strikingly low . Indeed, attempts to culture breast cancer cell lines from primary tumors have been largely unsuccessful. This poor efficiency was often due to technical difficulties associated with the extraction of viable tumor cells from their surrounding stroma. Most of the available breast cancer cell lines issued from metastatic tumors, mainly from pleural effusions. Effusions provided generally large numbers of dissociated, viable tumor cells with little or no contamination by fibroblasts and other tumor stroma cells.Many of the currently used BCC lines were established in the late 1970s. A very few of them, namely MCF-7, T-47D, MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3, account for more than two-thirds of all abstracts reporting studies on mentioned breast cancer cell lines, as concluded from a Medline-based survey.
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Does It Take A Long Time To Diagnose Breast Cancer
It shouldn’t, although waiting for the results of any type of medical test can feel like a lifetime. Sometimes a radiology center will have permission from an oncologist to share the results of a mammogram as soon as it’s completed. Biopsies take longertypically a week or sobecause after a sample of tissue is examined by a pathologist, a doctor then needs to receive and interpret the results.