Wearing bras can cause breast cancer, two medical anthropologists have concluded.
Women who wear a bra for 12 hours or longer every day are 19 times more likely to develop breast cancer than those who wear one for less than 12 hours. And women who wear a bra virtually all the time, even to sleep in, are 113 times more likely to develop cancer as women who wear theirs for less than 12 hours a day.
Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer base their controversial findings on interviews with 4,700 women from five US cities.
The reason, they believe, is due to the way a bra artificially restricts the lymphatic system from flushing accumulated wastes from the body, which causes toxins to gather in the breast tissue. This, in turn, forms a breeding ground for a host of health problems, including cancer (Townsend Letter for Doctors, February/ March 1996).
Breastfeeding can protect a woman against breast cancer if she has had one child she has breastfed, researchers have discovered.
Otherwise, they could find no conclusive evidence that could confirm earlier findings that breastfeeding offers protection against breast cancer.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health studied the data collected from 89,887 women participating in the US Nurses' Health Study, and correlated breast cancer risk with months of breastfeeding.
Even women who breastfed longer did not seem to have any less risk of developing breast cancer, they concluded. Nevertheless, this study did not control for the influence of artificial hormones, like the Pill.
!AThe Lancet, February 17, 1996.