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How bras are linked to breast cancer
Many people say that bras causing breast cancer is just a myth. It IS TRUE that bras do not cause breast per se! Cancer gets started in an individual cell as a mutation, and then if the immune system is not clearing the cancerous cells, a tumor can start forming.
However, ill-fitting, too tight bras CAN BE one factor that helps the growth of a cancer, since they can prevent your body from excreting dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. Not only that, but such bras definitely contribute to the fibrocystic breast changes.
The main reason why tight bras are bad for breast health is because they restrict the lymph flow in your breasts. There are numerous lymph pathways and lymph nodes in the armpits, under the breasts, and in between the breasts. Normally the lymph fluid washes out waste materials and other toxins away from the breasts, but bras inhibit this action, so toxins can start to accumulate in the breast, and that can help cancer to grow. In other words, bras inhibit the way our bodies normally cleanse themselves and get rid of cancer cells, toxins such as PCBs, DDT, dioxin, and benzene, and other carcinogenic chemicals that cling to the body's fatty tissues like breast. In fact, if you find a lump in your breast, it could actually be filled with lymph fluid that was not able to drain away from the breast tissue.
It is well noted that many women with fibrocystic breast changes get help (sometimes complete relief!) from breast pain and cysts by simply stopping wearing bras. Women with fibrocystic breast changes have a higher risk of breast cancer, so even there we can see that there is a connection.
Bra wearing may also be connected to cancer in other ways. Wearing bras slightly increases the temperature of the breast tissue, and women who wear bras have higher levels of the hormone prolactin. Both of these may influence breast cancer formation.
However, bra wearing isn't the most important risk factor for breast cancer. More and more research is pointing to the fact that the lack of vitamin D is one of the major factors — perhaps even THE most important factor — in breast cancer formation.
Another nutrient that is VERY important to breast cells is iodine. There exist studies that link low iodine levels to fibrocystic breast disease. Also, there is evidence that the low breast cancer rates in Japan are due to their high iodine intake (form seafood).
Singer and Grismaijer's research on bra wearing
The first comprehensive study on bra wearing and breast cancer was done by medical researcher Sydney Singer and his wife Soma Grismaijer, triggered by Soma's discovery of a lump in her breast while in the early stages of pregnancy. Terrified, the couple started researching the causes and risk factors of breast cancer, and found out that even diagnosing the lump (if it was cancer) carried a risk they didn't want to take.
Soma stopped wearing bras, started doing regular breast massage and exercise, drinking only purified water, and taking some herbs and supplements. In two months, her lump was gone.
They noticed that the Maoris of New Zealand integrated into white culture have the same rate of breast cancer, while the marginalized aboriginals of Australia have practically no breast cancer. The same was true for "Westernized" Japanese, Fijians and other bra-converted cultures.
Singer and Grismaijer then studied 4,500 women in five cities across the U.S. about their bra wearing habits and later published their findings in a book Dressed to Kill. Though the study did not take into account other lifestyle factors, the results are too striking to be denied:
- 3 out of 4 women who wore their bras 24 hours per day
developed breast cancer.
- 1 out of 7 women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed developed breast cancer.
- 1 out of 152 women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day got breast cancer.
- 1 out of 168 women who wore bras rarely or never
acquired breast cancer.
So, the difference between these US women who wore bras for 24 hours and those who did not wear bras at all was 125-fold!
Singer and Grismaijer sent their results to the heads of the most prestigious cancer organizations and institutes of America. None responded.
The lymphatic system in the breast only develops fully during pregnancy and
breastfeeding, so women who wear bras everyday and postpone having children, and those who do not breastfeed, could be at higher risk of breast cancer.
It is well known that the established risk factors for breast cancer explain only about 25% of the cancer cases. In other words, about 75% of the women who get breast cancer do not have any of the typically mentioned risk factors, such as a history of breast cancer, smoking, or early menarche. So, considering Singer and Grismaijer's findings, there is definitely a need for more research!