I had the topic of bras and breast cancer in my queue for a few months now and it kept getting pushed to the side, but the following question from a site visitor has prompted me to get to it now. If you’re one of my male visitors reading this message and are about to skip over it because you think it doesn’t apply to you, I urge you to read on so that you can educate your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, friends, etc., about this very important issue and help change your perceptions and expectations of the women in your life.
Cynthia, are push up and extremely padded bras harmful to your breasts and can they change their shape by being restrictive? Is it better to wear a lightly lined underwire bra instead? After my first pregnancy back in 1981, I was given a breast binder to wear to “naturally” push out the milk & assist in a quicker drying up period. I wasn’t given one to wear after my other 2 pregnancies & am curious if it caused my breasts to be smaller & if the above bras do the same. Please advise. Thanks, Cyndie.
It is my opinion, as well as many others in the natural health field, that women should not wear a bra at all, and especially not a push-up or an underwire and here’s why:
- Research suggests that wearing a bra greatly increases your risk of developing breast cancer.In a groundbreaking study of 5000 women, by Sidney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, they found that three out of four women who wear a bra developed breast cancer, compared to only one out of 168 women who rarely or never wore a bra.Women who wear a bra 24 hours a day are 125 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don’t wear a bra at all.Women who wear a bra even 12 hours a day are 113 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who wear their bra less than 12 hours a day.
Singer and Girsmaier published the results of this study in more depth in their book, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, a book all women should read.
- Wearing a bra causes a slight increase in the temperature of breast tissue and the levels of a hormone called prolactin. Both of which may contribute to breast cancer.
- Singer and Grismaijer also found that 90% of women who have fibrocystic breast disease find relief by not wearing a bra. Restriction caused by bra wearing causes lymph fluid to create lumps, cysts and fibrous tissue.
- It has also been found that wearing a bra decreases the amount of melatonin one produces and increases the core temperature of the body. Melatonin is a crucial hormone in the regulation of sleep, aging, immune function and slows the growth of breast cancer and other cancers.
- The correlation between breast cancer and bras is four times higher than the correlation between smoking and lung cancer.
- Wearing a bra while breastfeeding can cause breast engorgement and sore breasts.
- In aboriginal cultures where bra wearing is rare, so is breast cancer.
- Bra wearing restricts the circulatory system from distributing vital nutrients.
So I encourage you to burn your bras today and it has nothing to do with being a feminist. It’s about protecting your health.
Why Bras May Cause Breast Cancer
Bras restrict lymph flow in the breasts which causes dangerous toxins to build up in the breast tissue instead of being flushed out. These toxins can lead to breast cancer. This is a growing concern with the high levels of dangerous chemicals we are all exposed to on a daily basis in our environment. A properly functioning lymph system is even more vital in this day and age.
The more restrictive the bra is, the more it inhibits lymph flow. Underwire bras and push up bras are about the worse choice there is because they are so tight and there is so much restriction.
The breasts should be free to move around and bounce.
Proper functioning of the lymph system is dependent on movement. Subtle bouncing of the breasts when we move, walk, exercise, make love, etc., is crucial to keep the lymph system functioning as it should. It gently massages and stimulates the lymph glands to move toxins out. The lymph system cannot function adequately when a bra is worn.
Bras increase the body temperature, which can alter hormone functioning. Breast cancer is linked to hormone levels.
Since bra wearing prevents the circulatory system from delivering vital nutrients to the breasts, the lack of essential nutrients can often leave one vulnerable to cancer.
You can find more in-depth information on the health risks associated with wearing bras on the following pages:
Why Wear Bras
Bras and Breast Cancer
Fibrocystic Disease and Bras
I also encourage you to read another post of mine called 8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Have a Mammogram.
Breaking Bra Burning Fears and Concerns
When some women hear the suggestion that they shouldn’t wear a bra, it triggers all kinds of thoughts, feelings, and remarks, so let’s address some of those concerns.
Women often feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or self-conscious when they aren’t wearing a bra, but that is because they have been conditioned or socialized to believe that it is not normal, acceptable or immoral. You must break free from this conditioning.
The whole purpose of the breast is to provide nourishment for our children. That’s it. Breasts are not supposed to remain perky, big, firm, sexy, etc. These definitions were created by society. Women have been brainwashed to believe that their breasts shouldn’t sag and they should be kept restricted in a toxic undergarment.
It is a myth that the breasts need support. Bras are not going to prevent the breasts from sagging. Sagging is going to happen regardless. It is an unavoidable and natural consequence of age, childbirth, and gravity. Bras actually cause the breasts to sag more because they inhibit and destroy the breast’s natural ability to support themselves.
It is natural and normal for breasts to change shape and sag after pregnancy, breastfeeding, and as we age. Try to appreciate the beauty in their new look, knowing that they nurtured your beautiful child and performed such a life-affirming activity. Admire the stretch marks, elasticity, sagging, changes in shape, etc. They are beautiful symbols of motherhood and aging. They add character and uniqueness to who you are and should be embraced.
It is not immoral or an invitation for sex to go without a bra. There is not a commandment or rule somewhere that says women should wear bras. It is one of the many destructive, oppressive and false messages that gets passed from generation to generation and has no real basis in truth. Dismiss any negative or disapproving looks or comments you may get. Take pride in going without a bra and comfort in knowing you’re doing something good for yourself.
Keep in mind that mainstream society will likely try to convince you that bra wearing is not harmful. That is because you are challenging the belief system they have carried for so long, going against the grain, and there is a huge monetary gain in the bra market. Don’t allow yourself to be controlled or manipulated by other’s socialization or commercialism.
I have never worn a bra for my entire life, except for that first year when I was thirteen and thought I wanted to be like everybody else and a brief period when I was pregnant and nursing. At the time I didn’t know anything about the health risks, I just simply didn’t like them. They made me feel constricted, refined and controlled, so I dismissed them. I have faced scrutiny from numerous people over the years. My stepmother used to cringe, other women looked at me critically and whispered, etc., etc. But, I just didn’t care, and now I’m so glad that I didn’t.
Burn that bra and don’t look back. I urge all mothers out there to educate their daughters and instill her with the self-confidence and self-worth she needs to go against the grain and be proud.
What if You Must Wear a Bra?
If you have situations in your life where bra wearing would be required because of a certain dress code, such as a work environment, then wear a camisole. Other better choices would be a shelf bra, tank top, cropped camisole, sleeveless T-shirt or bra top. You might also try to educate your employer about the health risks associated with bra wearing and get them to change the dress code.
If you do wear a bra, it should not leave any red marks or indentations on the skin. There should be no marks on the shoulders, under the breasts, in the underarm area, etc. Bras should not be tight or restrictive and take them off as soon as you get home.
In situations where bra wearing isn’t required but you feel social pressure to wear one, I encourage you to push yourself to go without. The only way to break the so-called society dress codes is to start going against them. Society must become accustomed to seeing women without their bra and become comfortable with that. In time, you will become more comfortable without one. In time, you will not want to wear a bra at all and will do everything in your power to avoid one.
If you can’t bring yourself to burn that bra completely, at the very least you should never be wearing a bra to bed and you should try to minimize the number of hours the breasts are in a bra. As indicated in the opening paragraphs, the incidence of breast cancer can be drastically reduced just by limiting bra wearing to under 12 hours a day.
Giving up your bra is really a very simple act that has the potential to provide enormous health benefits and may actually save your life. I encourage you to take advantage of this empowering self-care method that costs you nothing.