* Wearing a bra over 12 hours daily dramatically increases breast cancer incidence.
* Bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men.
* Those who wear a bra 18-24 hours daily have over 100 times greater incidence of breast cancer than do bra-free women. This link is 3-4 times greater than that between cigarettes and lung cancer!
(Source: Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, Medical Anthropologists)
How exactly is it that bras can cause breast cancer?
Dr. Singer and Grismaijer explain:
“Our theory explaining these findings is that the bra, an elastic garment designed to alter breast shape, applies constant pressure to the soft breast tissue, compressing and constricting lymphatic vessels. Evidence of this constriction are the red marks and indentations in the skin left behind by the bra. Since the role of the lymphatics is to flush out toxins and debris from the tissues, impairment of lymphatic flow can lead to the toxification of the breast tissue. These toxins include endogenous toxins resulting from the consequent tissue hypoxia, as well as the exogenous toxins that contaminate our food, water and air in our petrochemically polluted world. Many of these toxins are carcinogenic. The bra concentrates these in the breast by preventing the lymphatics from flushing them away.
Of course, this means that the cause of breast cancer is not the bra, per se, but the toxins that the bra concentrates in the breast tissue due to lymphatic impairment.
Interestingly, when you look at the worldwide statistics on breast cancer, it is clear that it is only a problem in cultures where bras are worn. No bras, and men and women have about the same low incidence of breast cancer. And the bra link also explains various breast cancer risk factors, as we discuss in Dressed To Kill.
While more research is clearly needed to further study this link, we believe it is prudent medicine to recommend women abstain from bra wearing as a precaution. There is no reason for wearing a bra, apart from fashion. The human body was not designed with a flaw that requires modern lingerie for correction. Like the absurd and destructive fashion of foot binding in China, women in the West bind their breasts. “
When this research first came out back in 1995, I immediately stopped wearing a bra. To be honest, I hated the things anyway and by that point was only wearing the light, stretchy cotton bras by Evita. After this research, I wore undershirts and camisoles instead.
Then as the years wore on, I started to wonder: Why am I ashamed of my nipples? Who decreed that even the outline of a nipple should never be shown?? So then I began eschewing the undershirts and just wearing a normal shirt – ahhh, the comfort and freedom of it.
I must admit, it’s easy for me to go bra-free because I have small breasts. If I had large, heavy breasts, that hung to my belly button when bra-free, I imagine it would be much more difficult. But, I would still do it, except on special occasions. Because there’s another benefit to going bra-free, as Dr. Singer and Grismaijer relate:
“Then something happened that we had not foreseen. Some courageous women who had heard our message tried going bra-free and reported their experiences to us. Within weeks, if not days, most of these women experienced a profound change in their breast health. Breast pain and tenderness virtually ended. Cysts that had needed regular aspirations disappeared. We began to realize that fibrocystic breast disease, common in bra-wearing cultures, should be called “tight bra syndrome.
It all made perfect sense, of course. The bra was causing secondary lymphedema of the breasts due to constriction of the lymphatics. The accumulated fluid caused increased tissue pressure with associated pain and tenderness, and eventually developed into cysts. While the fibrous tissue that develops in long standing cysts takes more time to resolve, relieving the pressure by eliminating the bra allowed the cysts to drain, alleviating the pressure and discomfort. (This also explain