Is it true that antiperspirants cause cancer? If you have no family history of breast cancer, does that mean you’re not at risk? Can wearing a bra make you more likely to develop the disease? This World Cancer Day, let’s separate fact from fiction by debunking some of the most common breast cancer myths.
Myth 1: Wearing a bra can cause breast cancer
You’ve probably heard that wearing a bra can increase your risk of cancer. The theory goes that wearing a bra – especially an underwire bra – could restrict the flow of lymph fluid out of the breasts, causing toxic substances to build up in the tissue.
However, no link between bra-wearing and breast cancer has ever been found.
So your decision of if and when to wear a bra is 100% your personal choice and definitely won’t harm you.
Myth 2: The smaller your breasts, the smaller your risk of developing breast cancer
There’s no correlation between breast size and the risk of developing breast cancer. The only physical breast characteristic proven to increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is breast density.
That’s because tumors in dense breast tissue are more difficult to detect with standard x-ray mammography, meaning cancer can go undetected for a longer amount of time. So whether yours are small or large, make sure to check them regularly.
Myth 3: Antiperspirants increase the risk of breast cancer
You might’ve heard that aluminum and other chemicals in underarm antiperspirants can get absorbed into the lymph nodes and then move into breast cells, increasing your risk of cancer. It’s even been theorized that by stopping underarm sweating, antiperspirants prevent the release of toxic substances from the underarm lymph nodes, increasing your chances of developing cancer.
However, these are all unsubstantiated theories. There’s currently no evidence of a link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer. But if you are concerned, there’s no harm in using an aluminum-free antiperspirant or natural deodorant.
Myth 4: Nobody in my family has breast cancer, so I’m not at risk
Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Anyone can develop breast cancer, even if they have no history of it in their family. In fact, only about 5–10% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary. While environment and lifestyle factors can play a role, the biggest risk factors are simply being female and aging – factors totally outside of your control.
So whether breast cancer runs in your family or not, it’s important to get regular screening, check your breasts regularly for any lumps or unusual changes, and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
Remember: women and men of all ages can develop breast cancer, even those with healthy and active lifestyles. So don’t neglect your breasts. It could save your life!
To get some ideas about how to show your breasts some love, read How to Feel Confident About Your Breasts Every Day and 10 Hot Ideas for Breast Play and Nipplegasms. You're in for a treat!