Bras and Breast Cancer
There is a lot of talk currently debunking the claim of a link between bras and breast cancer. The loudest voice by far is the Susan Komen foundation who have a claim on their website: “Scientific evidence does not support a link between wearing an underwire bra (or any type of bra) and breast cancer risk. There is no biological reason the two would be linked.”
But, if you look a little closer and follow their references to this claim, you find a data study seeking an association between women who have been diagnosed with invasive carcinoma compared to a control group, and their bra-wearing habits.
It must be made very clear that a data study does NOT constitute ‘scientific evidence’ and does NOT support the claim that “there is no biological reason the two would be linked”. This is a shockingly false conclusion, reached merely from a study of statistics without any physical evidence or biology taken into account. Also, the fact that other data studies (Dressed to Kill, 1995) have shown the complete opposite must make you STOP AND THINK!
We need to examine the actual biology, rather than make a biological claim from data. In an article by Michael Schachter MD, FACAM: Integrative Medicine: The Prevention And Complementary Treatment Of Breast Cancer, he explains:
“It is the job of the lymphatic system of the body to help drain toxic substances from tissues, and poor lymphatic drainage may play a role in breast cancer formation… Over 85% 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.”
The biology is clear and obviously constitutes a risk. We know how important the lymph nodes are to the immune system and how important a properly functioning immune system is to the prevention of cancer. So it makes perfect sense that anything that may impede its function poses a risk.
We need to be vigilant against false claims made by Komen and others, based only on data studies. It’s fair enough to look at statistics, to discuss and compare, but we cannot make definitive claims about human biology and causes of cancer merely from data.