Phobia, the Bra, and Breast Cancer
By Sydney Ross Singer
News has spread
around the globe recently about bras causing breasts to droop.
The French researcher
doing this 15 year study, Prof. J.D. Rouillon, found that the breasts
toned and lifted after the bra was eliminated, and even stretch
marks disappeared. Back pain also ended. The conclusion was that
bras cause breast damage, and women would be better off without
them (even the brassier industry admits that the only time bras
prevent sagging is while wearing them).
We have been
saying for the past 20 years that bras cause breasts to droop more
than they would if the bra wasn't worn. The mechanism is easy to
understand. When part of the body is artificially supported, the
body becomes reliant on that support. Artificial support from bras
causes atrophy of the natural suspensory ligaments of the breast.
Use it or lose it.
girdles did the same thing to abdominal muscles. Internal structures
weaken when the body is supported from the outside.
is not really news to the lingerie industry. In the UK documentary,
BrasThe Bare Facts, released in 2000 on the Channel
4 program called Dispatches, for which I was also interviewed, John
Dixey, former CEO of bra-maker Playtex, explained, We have
no evidence that wearing a bra could prevent sagging, because the
breast itself is not muscle, so keeping it toned up is an impossibility
Theres no permanent effect on the breast from wearing a particular
bra. The bra will give you the shape the bras been designed
to give while youre wearing it.
Of course, bras
are sold with the misinformation that wearing them will prevent
breasts from drooping. And women fear droop more than almost anything
else, making this a successful, if incorrect, sales piece. In fact,
women have also been told that they need to sleep in their bras
to prevent droop. Wearing bras 24/7 has become commonplace. Of course,
so has breast cancer.
Bra and Breast Cancer Study of nearly 5,000 women, which is detailed
in our book, Dressed
To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, found that
the longer and tighter a woman wore a bra, the higher her chances
of developing breast cancer. 24/7 bra wearers have the highest incidence
of breast cancer of any group, over 125 times that of a bra-free
woman. Bra-free women also happen to have about the same low breast
cancer incidence as men. On the other hand, three fourths of 24/7
bra wearers developed breast cancer.
has been recently verified by a Venezuelan medical team. In 2011
a study was published, in Spanish, confirming that bras are causing
breast disease and cancer. It found that underwired and push-up
bras are the most harmful, but any bra that leaves red marks or
indentations may cause disease.
This is the
third study in addition to our own, that supports the bra/cancer
link. No study refutes the link.
The other two
include a 1991 Harvard study (CC Hsieh, D Trichopoulos (1991). Breast
size, handedness and breast cancer risk. European Journal of Cancer
and Clinical Oncology 27(2):131-135.). This study found that, Premenopausal
women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared
with bra users
A 2009 Chinese
study (Zhang AQ, Xia JH, Wang Q, Li WP, Xu J, Chen ZY, Yang JM (2009).
[Risk factors of breast cancer in women in Guangdong and the countermeasures].
In Chinese. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Jul;29(7):1451-3.)
found that NOT sleeping in a bra was protective against breast cancer,
lowering the risk 60%.
cancer detection and treatment industry still wants to ignore the
link and have women come for more mammograms or, better yet, for
a prophylactic mastectomy, removing the breasts to prevent breast
cancer. (Its amazing they are able to dupe women and pull
|From the Susan
G. Komen for the Cure website:
"Scientific evidence does not support
a link between wearing an underwire bra (or any type of bra)
and an increased risk of breast cancer. There is no biological
reason the two would be linked, and any observed relationship
is likely due to other factors."
It will be interesting
this year during Octobers Breast Cancer Awareness hype
to see how many websites still call the bra/cancer link a myth.
I hope all readers of this newsletter will challenge these websites
when they see this misinformation. At least leave a comment.
On a personal
note, I must admit it feels good seeing researchers around the world
looking into the harm caused by bras. Breast cancer is preventable,
if we can get past the cultural obsession with needing artificially
surprising is that many women fear droop even more than cancer.
Aesthetics trumps health in a culture whereashamed of their bodies
looks are everything and books are judged by their cover.
And women do
feel they are being judged for their appearance. In our culture,
women are often treated as objects, especially their breasts.
So this news
about bras causing breasts to droop is a powerful motivator to get
rid of the bra. Women will ditch the bra to look better, and will
be preventing breast cancer at the same time as a positive side
One last note.
Some of the news coverage of the French study and the online comments
were very revealing. It was suggested that a man studying breasts
for 15 years must somehow be a sexual pervert, and that the study
was therefore creepy.
The fact is,
discussing breasts and bras brings out the adolescent in many people.
And medical researchers are no exception.
years back I was contacted by a man who was a retired cancer researcher
at NIH who thought highly of our bra/cancer theory. While still
at NIH, he tried talking about the theory with a female colleague.
She took immediate offense and accused him of harboring some sexual
issues. It seems that a man, regardless of his intentions, is suspected
of perversion by merely mentioning the bra/cancer link.
This is another
aspect of the culturogenic nature of breast cancer. Our culture
is so messed up about breasts and bras that we cannot talk about
this issue in serious terms without someone sneering or getting
uncomfortable. The subject is taboo. The only ones allowed to talk
about bras and breasts are lingerie sales people, who tell women
bras are essential to prevent droop, and that the link between bras
and cancer is a myth.
myths, those supporting the bra often refer to National Geographic
pictures of droopy, bare-breasted African women as proof that gravity
will win without a bra. But dont be duped by the African droop.
These women often nurse many children, who tug on their breasts
for years on end. And some tribes actually hang weights from their
breasts to make them hang. Different strokes for different folks.
We must also
advise women who are wanting to try bra-free that any pain you experience
once you remove your bra is a sign that you have become addicted,
or conditioned, to the bra. Because of the constriction, lymphatic
drainage may have been impaired, resulting in fluid accumulation
and heavier, soggier, and saggier breasts. Over a short time the
fluid will leave and your breasts will feel less heavy and sore.
Ligaments will start working again. The breasts will lift and tone.
that now give you breast discomfort, like jogging or rebounding,
will start to feel good over time without any breast constraint.
This breast movement is important for healthy circulation and does
not require the artificial support of a bra. The female breast was
not designed with a flaw that requires 20th Century lingerie to
It is also important
to get past "droop phobia". Its nothing but a cultural
con, an artificial need created to sell a product (a profitable
product). Plastic surgeons eager to stuff and cut breasts into fashionable
dimensions add to the pressure to conform.
big business. So is cancer. A major link is the bra. Now that bras
have been implicated regarding droop, there may be some progress
in ditching the bra and ending this breast cancer epidemic.
Dairy consumption is another link to breast cancer; see the articles
on milk/dairy in the Articles section. And breast tissue health
can be adversely affected by insufficient
also Bras and Breast
to list of Articles