Breasts, Bras and Cancer

by Courtney on January 23, 2009

Like any good American woman, I’ve worn a bra since I was ripe for it. However, over the past few years I’ve come across bits of information that have amounted to some pretty clear conclusions for me. I’d like to share.

Information Bit #1 Bras contribute to saggy breasts. “In 1991 Researchers in Japan pubished a study on bras and sagging, in which they proved that a bra can actually increase breast sagging, rather than the opposite. This effect was most noticeable in larger breasted women. They compared bras to foot binding in their discussion section.” Interestingly, there are many articles (from much more mainstream, allopathic sources), that say the EXACT opposite – that NOT wearing a bra causes saggy breasts. Some articles even suggest that women need to wear SLEEP bras to prevent sag.

(“Breast Form Changes Resulting From A Certain Brassiere” Journal of Hum. Ergol.(Tokyo) 1990 Jun; 19(1):53-62. Ashizawa K, Sugane A, Gunji T Institute of Human Living Sciences, Otsuma Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan)

Information Bit #2 Bras can cause cancer. I have actually found several published studies on this. However, to keep from this being too long, I’ll just list one here:

“In 1991 Researchers at Harvard University publish a medical journal article on breast cancer risk. As a side issue of their paper, they mention that the women in their study that did not wear bras had a 60% lower rate of breast cancer than the women who wore bras.”

(Hsieh, C.C. and D. Trichopoulos, D. Eur. J. Cancer 27:131-5, 1991 “Breast size, handedness and breast cancer risk”)

David and Katrina Rainoshek have actually posted a compilation of great studies on this topic for members of also published an article on bras and breast cancer which you can view here.

Information Bit #3 Bras can have other effects, such as lowering melatonin and inhibiting proper lymphatic circulation.

Information Bit #4 Underwire bras are hazardous. This one I’ve definitely read about but can’t seem to find the exact articles, so if anyone knows of them, let me know. As far as I remember, there seemed to be specific reasons to not wear underwire bras, due to the hazards of having that much metal right against your skin all the time.

Information Bit #5 Victoria’s Secret bras may not be the best ever :( :(
Lab tests have shown VS’ bras to have traces of formaldehyde, leaving rashes and blisters on the skin of wearers. There are a few articles out there on this. Dr. Mercola reported on this here, but you have to sign up to view it. However, you can google it and find reports easily. Be wary of reports from mainstream news sites, however, which minimize the importance of this case.

My opinion: It feels rather unnatural to me that women would NEED a piece of fabric and metal wrapped around their chests to keep a body part looking the way it should and not sagging. Additionally, if there is evidence to suggest that bras can increase one’s risk for cancer, this is an issue to take
seriously. I also don’t feel I could ever run or rebound without good support. I’ve got it in the chest and it just wouldn’t work for me. The saddest part for me is that I LOVE Victoria’s Secret and their bras are absolutely my favorite.

So, here’s what I’m doing. I don’t wear underwire anymore. Being larger in the chest, a lot of the standard no wire bras or organic ones look a bit dinky to me. Thus, I have been wearing Victoria’s Secret’s wireless Ipex because I had it already, it’s the only thing I’ve found to fit me well without a wire, and it’s still sexy. I still wear bras in both public and work settings. However, I have begun going without anytime I can; if I am at home or anywhere by myself. I definitely still wear one (or two) sports bras to jog or rebound, and for now, that’s just not changing.

Bottom line: less support as often as possible = better for your shape, and your health. If you have to wear them, try to ones made from natural materials and dyes, and avoid underwire.

Some info from

Sign up for my Newsletter!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: