Breast cancer is one of the leading cancer types affecting women. The underlying cause of this disease is still unknown, and that gives space for the myths to slip in. Several myths around breast cancer cloud the minds of women. And the most popular one is – can wearing a bra cause breast cancer? Thanks to the internet, this rumour has got a permanent space in one of the tiny shelves of every woman’s mind. Ironically, there are a few variations of this rumour as well. The most prevalent ones include wearing a bra while sleeping; for too many hours in a day; wearing those that have underwires, and are tightly fitted.

While all these rumours create doubts among women across the globe, the fact is that there is no proven relation between breast cancer and wearing a bra. Yes, these myths are unnerving, so let’s discuss the logic behind every variation of this rumour.

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Can a bra cause breast cancer?

can wearing a bra cause breast cancer

Sleeping in a Bra or Wearing It for Too Long

Our mothers have been pushing us hard not to wear a bra while sleeping, especially the underwired ones. According to our mothers and the popular myth, sleeping with the bra on restricts the pores from breathing. This restriction results in accumulation of sweat and builds-up toxins that are believed to be the hidden culprits of causing breast cancer. The same thinking goes for wearing a tight bra for too long. However, leading breast surgeons and cancer organizations have termed these myths as dubious. Though, they advise not to wear a bra that is too tight, as besides being uncomfortable, it can make you feel suffocated, thus causing breathing problems.

Wearing a Bra with an Underwire

underwired bra

This myth is like a rubber duck that refuses to sink even after several studies have quoted it as wrong. In the year 1995, a book (Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras) published by Soma Grismaijer and Sydney Ross Singer popularised this myth to an altogether different level. The book claims that bras with underwires obstruct the lymph flow from the bottom of the breasts, thus resulting in accumulation of toxins that can cause breast cancer. However, there is still no concrete scientific evidence that supports this myth of bra cause breast cancer!

Still Not Convinced?

Here are a few more reasons that support that these rumours about breast cancer and bra aren’t true.

History – Breast cancer has been mentioned in almost every era of history and has been around even before bras came into existence. The first mention of this disease was seen in the Edwin Smith Papyrus roughly around 1600 BC. On the other hand, corsets were replaced by bras in the late 19th century and had no underwires, padding and such. The tight-support structure and underwiring only came into existence in the 1930s.

Think of Men – Men don’t wear bras, and they also get affected by breast cancer. Though it is an uncommon malignancy and the number of cases registered in men is meager, men still fall prey to breast cancer. This inevitably cuts the rope that forms a connection between bra and breast cancer.

Finally, there’s No Clear Evidence – There is no clinical and scientific basis of this claim that can prove the association between breast cancer and bra. According to a 2014 study which was a population-based case control study, there is no association between bra and breast cancer risk.

breast cancer

Final Words!

Now that it’s clear that wearing a bra is not related to breast cancer, it’s time that we empty that tiny shelf in our mind that was occupied with this myth. Furthermore, the advancements in medical sciences have taken breast cancer treatment including breast cancer surgery to an altogether different level. When detected in its initial stage, this disease is highly treatable, and there are many hospitals like Max Healthcare who have a reputed panel of oncologists with an impressive track record in treating this disease.


1 Comment on Can Wearing a Bra Cause Breast Cancer? Myths Busted

  1. Zainab
    February 18, 2018 at 2:46 am (3 days ago)

    I have heard many myths regarding the same. A black bra can cause the disease. Sleeping in it can cause it. But, as long as one isn’t not wearing the bra too tight I feel it’s ok.


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