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Underwire Bras and Breast Cancer

Embrace the wireLESS bra!

The connection between underwire bras and breast cancer was initially brought into the limelight by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer in their 1995 book, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras and a 1991 study conducted at Harvard University published in the European Journal of Cancer and Clinical Oncology. The study discovered that pre-menopausal women who did not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer when compared to bra users.

Singer and Grismaijer conducted their own study involving 5000 women. The study demonstrated that breast cancer risk dramatically increased in women who wore their bras over 12 hours per day.

  • Women who wore their bras 24 hours per day had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer.

  • Women who wore their bras for more than 12 hours, but not to bed, had a 1 in 7 risk for breast cancer.

  • Women who never or rarely wore bras had a 1 in 168 risk for breast cancer.

  • Wearing a bra less than 12 hours per day dropped breast cancer risk to 1 in 152.

  • Overall, women who wore their bras 24 hours per day increased their breast cancer risk by 125 times over women who rarely or never wore a bra.

There have been even more recent studies. A 2009 Chinese study found that not sleeping in a bra dropped a woman's risk of breast cancer by 60%. A 2011 Venezuelan study found that bras played a primary role in fibrocystic breast disease and cancer. A 2014 Scotland study which showed that bra fit and length of wear were also connected to increases in breast cancer rates.

The link is probably due to the lymphatic system. Over 85% of the lymph fluid flowing from the breast drains to the lymph nodes in the armpits. Bras and other external tight clothing can impede flow and toxic chemicals may become trapped in the breast.

Lymphatic drainage must occur for the body to quickly detoxify itself of waste products and any harmful carcinogenic substances. This drainage is stimulated by movement - exercise, dancing, and brisk walking. When the breasts are constricted, drainage is not activated and flowing.

What Should You Do?

  • Be very aware of if you are seeing red creases or grooves along your bra lines. Make adjustments.

  • Reduce the amount of time you wear your bra.

  • Try going bra-free at home.

  • Don't wear your bra to bed.

  • If you are small-breasted, wear camisoles or tops with built-in support.

  • Go wireless - many lingerie companies offer wireless options now!

  • Do not carry your cell phone in your breast pocket or in your bra.

Call 704-543-5540 for a free phone consultation with me!


  1. Singer, Sydney . Grismaijer, Soma. (1995). Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. Pahoa, HI: Icsd press.

  2. Hseih, C. Trichopoulos, D. (1991). Breast Size, Handedness, and Breast Cancer Risk. European Journal of Cancer and Clinical Oncology, 27(2), 131-135.

  3. Schacter, Michael, B. (1996). The Prevention and Complementary Treatment of Breast Cancer, Schacter Center for Complementary Medicine.

  4. Zhang, A et al. (2009). Risk Factors of Breast Cancer in Women in Guangdong and the Countermeasures. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao, 29(7), 1451-1453.

  5. Eduardo Quijada Stanovich, Marcos. (2011, October 14). Patologias mamarias generadas por el uso sostenido y seleccion incorrecta del brassier en pacientes que acuden a la consulta de mastologia.

  6. Amos, I. (2014). Bras Linked to Rise in Breast Cancer, The Scotsman.

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