Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras

Dressed to kill

By Sydney Ross Singer

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Bra-freedom is busting out all over!  Women everywhere are discovering that wearing bras can make their breasts droopy and stretched out, but also cause cysts, pain, and cancer.

For some women, enough said. The bra goes. It was always so uncomfortable, it was the first thing they took off after work anyway. More women are becoming bra-free in the name of comfort and health.

For other women, no way! The bra stays no matter what. And the cancer detection and treatment industry loves these women. They want women to wear bras. With one million bras sold each day in the US alone, that’s a lot of women binding and constricting the health out of their breasts in the name of fashion.

Nothing new there.

Corsets bound women for centuries, to the point of disease and death.  Constriction is not a good thing for circulation. Nevertheless, this fashion of body shaping went on for centuries, despite its toll on women’s health.

Bras are really breast corsets. They shape the breasts, and this requires harmful pressure and compression of the delicate breast tissue.

Harmful fashions are not new.  In fact, foot binding in China deformed feet to the point that toes would rot away. It was considered erotic to unwrap a bound foot, clean it, and re-wrap it. This lasted for a thousand years, despite its toll on women. It seems that harmful fashions are not ended simply because they are harmful. It’s not necessarily that the fashion designers of the time have it against women, it’s just that the health impacts of such fashions are never considered.

The Campaign of Misinformation

Almost twenty years ago, my partner Soma Grismaijer and I  announced the results of our 1991-93 Bra and Breast Cancer study in our book,  Dressed To Kill.

Bras, we discovered, are the leading cause of breast cancer. Like corsets, they constrict and interfere with circulation. Lymph fluid cannot easily drain from a bra-constricted breast. This stagnant lymph fluid cannot be adequately flushed away, concentrating waste products and toxins in the slowly toxifying breasts. Backed-up fluid results in cysts and pain.  Ultimately, this can lead to cancer.

Essentially, a bra-free woman has about the same incidence of breast cancer as a man. The tighter and longer a bra is worn, the higher the incidence of breast cancer. 24/7 bra wearers have over 100 times the incidence as a bra-free woman. These findings have been recently confirmed by studies in China and Venezuela. A 1991 Harvard study also found a significant bra/cancer link.

However, to the cancer detection and treatment industry, this is called “nonsense”. To the industry that makes billions of dollars each year giving mammograms, mastectomies, radiation and chemotherapies, and then protheses and bras so these women can look “normal”, the concept of bras contributing to breast cancer is “absurd”.

In fact, the American Cancer Society’s spokesman, Dan Gansler, stated for the New York Times, “Because the idea of bras’ causing breast cancer is so scientifically implausible, it seems unlikely that researchers will ever spend their time and resources to test it in a real epidemiological study,” he told the Times for a Q&A piece.

The article explains that:

“He (Gansler) and colleagues compared National Cancer Institute data on breast cancer risk for women treated for melanoma who had several underarm lymph nodes removed and those who did not. The surgery, which is known to block lymph drainage from breast tissue, did not detectably increase breast cancer rates, the study found, meaning that it is extremely unlikely that wearing a bra, which affects lymph flow minimally if at all, would do so.”

When I saw this, I did some research.

The “study” is really a letter in the Breast Journal, run by the American Cancer Society:  Axillary Lymphatic Disruption does not Increase Risk of Breast Carcinoma, in  The Breast Journal,  Volume 15,  Issue 4,  pages 438–439,  July/August 2009. As a letter, the information was not peer reviewed. Not all the data was shown. It was an editorial, not a scientific report.

Interestingly, their report did show a significant increase in skin cancers resulting from lymph node removal! This supports the hypothesis, which they wanted to disprove, that lymphatic blockage could cause cancer. (BTW, this has been known to be the case since the 1930”²s)

Instead of admitting an increase in cancers, they focused only on the breast cancer results. It found that there was not a significant increase in breast cancers. However, it mentions that there was not enough data for this conclusion to be statistically valid. In other words, there was not enough data to tell the impact on breast cancer.

Of course, their “study” was designed to disprove the bra/cancer connection. Gansler did what no scientist should do. He had a bias and went out to prove a point, results be damned.  The increased skin cancer results did not support his plan, so he ignored the data. The breast cancer data was too small a sample to make a conclusion, but they made one anyway.

Not surprisingly, it was the same conclusion that they started out with!

Unfortunately, this “information” is supported from the American Cancer Society, the pre-eminent cancer information source. They should not be able to lie and get away with it. However, the media is paid to report what they are told by the ACS, not to question it.  The media spreads this misinformation because it is paid to. The payers are the cancer detection and treatment industry, as well as the lingerie industry, which also funds breast cancer research.

The last thing the lingerie industry wants is a class action lawsuit. Their goal is to make sure there is no further research into the bra/cancer link. Without a long list of studies, the issue can be called a “myth” and no lawsuits can succeed – they hope.

Aiding their suppression of the issue is the cancer industry, which is not interested in rocking a boat that now nets them billions each year detecting and treating this disease.

Pink champagne anyone? Let’s celebrate raising more money for research into cancer cell lines, genetics, new treatment drugs, new radiation procedures, new diagnostic tests… anything but the link between breast cancer and bras.

A Health.com article is at the forefront of keeping the bra/cancer link ignored and suppressed. Quoted by national news networks and used as an October 2013 breast cancer informercial, this article not only calls the bra/cancer link a myth but also says breast cancer is not preventable.

Called  25 Breast Cancer Myths Busted, this malignant article claims:

Myth: Breast cancer is preventable.

Reality:  Alas, no. Although it is possible to identify risk factors (such as family history and inherited gene mutations) and make lifestyle changes that can lower your risk (reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, losing weight, getting regular exercise and screenings, and quitting smoking), roughly 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors, meaning that the disease occurs largely by chance and according to as-yet-unexplained factors.

Okay, even if you don’t get the bra/cancer link, it’s easy to see the bias in this statement. If these factors are as-yet-unexplained, then how do you know it will not make prevention possible once these factors are discovered?

As for the 70% of cases that are “unexplained”, the reason for this is because they are ignoring the bra. They have looked at every lifestyle factor they could think of, but have deliberately ignored the bra, which already has a scientifically proven history of causing breast problems.

But this reasoning has no impact on the cancer industry and its pink campaign. They don’t want to know the factors that cause this disease if it cannot be sold in patented pill or bottle form.

Consensus? Widely debunked as unscientific? No reason or evidence is provided. So I put together a few things for the interested reader. The rest is up to you.

Studies that Support the Bra/Cancer Link:

  1. 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…”
  2. 1991-93 U.S. Bra and Breast Cancer Study by Singer and Grismaijer, published in  Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras  (Avery/Penguin Putnam, 1995; ISCD Press, 2005). Found that bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men. 24/7 bra wearing increases incidence over 100 times that of a bra-free woman.
  3. Singer and Grismaijer did a follow-up study in Fiji, published in  Get It Off!  (ISCD Press, 2000). Found 24 case histories of breast cancer in a culture where half the women are bra-free. The women getting breast cancer were all wearing bras. Given women with the same genetics and diet and living in the same village, the ones getting breast disease were the ones wearing bras for work purposes.
  4. 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%.
  5. 2011 a study was published, in Spanish, confirming that bras are causing breast disease and cancer.  http://www.portalesmedicos.com/publicaciones/articles/3691/1/Patologias-mamarias-generadas-por-el-uso-sostenido-y-seleccion-incorrecta-del-brassier-en-pacientes-que-acuden-a-la-consulta-de-mastologia-  It found that underwired and push-up bras are the most harmful, but any bra that leaves red marks or indentations may cause disease.

Studies that Refute the Bra/Cancer Link:


Physicians Who Support the Bra/Cancer Link:

Michael Schachter MD, FACAM  

–  Director of the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine,  graduate of Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons.

Over 85 percent of the lymph fluid flowing from the breast drains to the armpit lymph nodes. Most of the rest drains to the nodes along the breast bone. Bras and other external tight clothing can impede flow.

The nature of the bra, the tightness, and the length of time worn, will all influence the degree of blockage of lymphatic drainage. Thus, wearing a bra might contribute to the development of breast cancer as a result of cutting off lymphatic drainage, so that toxic chemicals are trapped in the breast.

Dr. Joseph Mercola

– Osteopathic physician,  board-certified in family medicine, served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for 5 years, trained in both traditional and natural medicine, founder of Mercola.com

1 –  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/19/Can-Wearing-Your-Bra-Cause-Cancer.aspx

Many physicians and researchers now agree that wearing a tight fitting bra can cut off lymph drainage, which can contribute to the development of breast cancer,[1]  as your body will be less able to excrete all the toxins you’re exposed to on a daily basis. Aluminum from antiperspirants, for example, is one potentially dangerous source of toxins that can accumulate if your lymph drainage is impaired.

2 –  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/21/breast-cancer-young-women.aspx

Avoid wearing underwire bras.  There is a good deal of data that metal  underwire bras  can heighten your breast cancer risk.

Dr. Mandy Ward

– Naturopathic Doctor, contributing writer for www.keep-a-breast-org

1 –  http://www.keep-a-breast.org/blog/roadrunner-supports-our-girls/

According to Dr. Mandy, who is our naturopathic expert,  85% of the lymphatic fluid must drain its waste around the armpit area, while 15% drains along the breast bone. Where does your bra usually wrap around your body? The bra seems to obstruct the very place that needs to be unobstructed! Studies have shown that the  tightness of a bra can cut off the lymphatic system from draining properly. This means that your bra could be obstructing your body’s natural flow which can also increase your risks for cancer.

Dr. Cheryl Kasdorf

– Naturopathic Physician, founder of  drcherylkasdorf.com

1 –  http://drcherylkasdorf.com/2013/09/30/bowenwork-celebrates-breast-health/

Tight bras, poor food choices, and lack of exercise  can hamper lymphatic  removal of fluids from the breast. That can result in breast tenderness and is a risk factor for breast disease including cancer.

Dr. Elizabeth R. Vaughan MD

– a 4th generation physician, she is Board Certified by the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology, the American Board of Emergency Medicine, and the American Board of Internal Medicine, founder of  vaughanintegrative.com

1 –  http://www.drvaughan.com/2013/09/bumps-and-breasts-and-bras-oh-my.html

Wearing a bra puts pressure on and around the breasts and restricts lymphatic flow. Consider this: lightly resting one finger on your arm will create about 5mm of mercury pressure in that location, which is enough to stop lymphatic flow. The restriction of lymphatic flow that tight bra straps have around the breasts, shoulders and back is much more significant….  take off that bra! At the very least, wear it less than 12 hours a day. Ideally, though, avoid wearing it whenever possible. Visit  BraFree.org  for tips on how to easily and discreetly make the transition.

Dr. Jennifer Shine Dyer

–  a pediatric endocrinologist and behavioral researcher with a Masters of Public Health in health behavior studies, and  creator of the award-winning EndoGoal Diabetes Rewards App.

1 –  http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/beauty-style/7-health-dangers-hiding-your-closet/slide/4

“tight bras can reduce the lymphatic flow to the breasts thus creating an environment with more ‘cellular waste and toxins’ that should have been cleared by the lymphatic system.”

Professor Marek Zadrozny

– head of the Clinic of Breast Diseases and Oncology surgery at the Polish Mother Memorial Hospital Research Institute, collaboration with Polish lingerie manufacturer  Corin and  Lodz at University of Technology on a  thermographic study of interactions between the surface of a bra and a woman’s body.

1 –  http://www.lingerieinsight.com/article-4099-thermovision-is-key-to-bra-manufacturing-study/

Wearing a bra that is too tight can cause pressure, which may lead to dangerous health problems, like lymphatic drainage disorders, edema and or swollen lymph nodes

Dr. Gerald Lemole MD

–  served as Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at Christiana Care Health Services from 1986 through 2006, subsequently served as the Medical Director for the Center of Integrative Health at The Preventive Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute.

1 –  http://breastnest.com/breastnest.php

Women who wear bras don’t have normal movement in their breast tissue. As a result, their lymphatics slow, and toxins stay in the tissue.

I could go on, but you get the point. Breast cancer prevention is up to each woman. Don’t wait for the people who profit from cancer to tell you the answer.

For more information, please see:  http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/are-you-dressed-to-kill-the-link-between-breast-cancer-and-bras/

About the author:

Sydney Ross Singer  is a medical anthropologist, the author of several ground-breaking and controversial health books, and the director of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease, located in Hawaii. He is internationally recognized for his revolutionary and shocking research linking breast cancer with the wearing of tight bras, which he describes in his book,  Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras.

Sydney was trained in biochemistry, anthropology and medicine.  He received a B.S. in biology from the University of Utah in 1979. He then spent two years in the biochemistry Ph.D. program at Duke University, followed by another two years at Duke in the anthropology Ph.D. program, receiving a Master’s Degree. He then attended the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, Texas on a full academic scholarship, where he spent one year in the medical humanities Ph.D. program, and received an additional two years training in medical school. He left medical school to help develop a new field of applied medical anthropology.

To learn more, please visit  www.killerculture.com


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