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Ladies, Ditch the Bra for Your Health

by Louise Kuo Habakus
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© Fearless Parent 2014

I realize it may feel some combination of uncomfortable, unprofessional, or unnecessarily provocative to go braless. Societal convention has most of us trussing up before going out.

If you’re reading this at home, do me a favor and unhook. Then keep reading.

There’s some evidence of a relationship between bras and breast cancer.

Yes, seriously.

DRESSED TO KILL: THE LINK BETWEEN CANCER & BRAS

Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer authored a book called Dressed To Kill. They interviewed 4,000+ women in five major U.S. cities over two years. Half the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They found:

  • 75% of women who slept in their bras developed breast cancer
  • 1 in 7 who wore their bras 12+ hours per day developed breast cancer
  • 1 in 168 who did not wear a bra developed breast cancer
  • Within one month of ditching their bras, women with cysts, breast pain, or tenderness found their symptoms disappeared.

“BREAST SIZE, HANDEDNESS, AND BREAST CANCER RISK”

This 1991 article in the European Journal of Cancer found that premenopausal women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra users. The data also suggest that bra cup size (and breast size) may be a risk factor for breast cancer.

“CANCER IS NOT A DISEASE”

Andreas Moritz revealed that Japanese, Fijians, and women from other cultures were found to have a significantly higher likelihood of developing breast cancer when they began wearing bras. His book explains how cancer is an adaptive healing mechanism, arguing that people would die more quickly if the body did not form cancer cells.

BRAS AND GIRDLES CAN REDUCE MELATONIN LEVELS

Japanese researchers found they can lower melatonin by 60%. Melatonin has anti-cancer properties. And Spanish researchers wrote about the use of melatonin in breast cancer prevention and treatment. (Mercola.com)

There’s no downside to being cautious

Am I suggesting this scanty fact base offers definitive proof of a causal relationship? No.

Am I suggesting you should be comforted that the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the New York Times all believe it to be bunk? No.

That’s a longer discussion, but it’s sufficient to say that politics and economics create active bedfellows and the absence of a commercial imperative might have something to do with the dearth of research.

Many of us don’t need to wait in order to do something that intuitively seems to make a lot of sense. Frankly, in view of the alarming rate of breast cancer prevalence in this country (12.3% of women) and the growing trend to remove body parts in an attempt to improve our odds, it seems we might be receptive to a bit of behavior modification.

Things to consider doing:

GO BRALESS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

It actually gets easier. When these muscles and ligaments are forced to bear the weight of our breasts, muscle tone returns. The more you wear a bra, the more you need to wear a bra. Chest muscles and breast ligaments atrophy, which then makes it feel uncomfortable to go braless.

A 15 year French study conducted by Besancon CHU professor Jean-Denis Rouillon found that “medically, phyisiologically, and anatomically, breasts gained no benefit from their weight being supported in a bra.” There was some evidence that eliminating bra use helped ease back pain. He described bra wearing as a “false need.”

Remove your bra when you get home. Don’t wear a bra to bed. And if you’re self-conscious when going out, try wearing camisoles, thicker material, or nipple pads. It does make sense to wear a support bra while exercising.

WEAR LOOSE BRAS AND AVOID UNDERWIRES

Tight bras and underwires restrict lymphatic drainage, promoting congestion and stagnation of toxic waste materials that are supposed to be flowing out for excretion. Further, the closing of lymphatic vessels reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells.

Michael Schachter, MD, FACAM wrote that bras and tight clothing can impede lymph flow and contribute to the development of breast cancer.

John MacDougall, MD wrote in The Lancet that repeated inflammation from constricting bras are implicated in painful breast cysts and lumps, scar tissue develops, and milk ducts become plugged, all of which is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. 

The metal in underwire bras can create an “Antenna Effect” according to the father of Applied Kinesiology, George Goodheart, DC. Repeated pressing of metal over an acupuncture point can cause longer-term stimulation of neuro-lymphatic reflex points corresponding to the liver, gallbladder, and stomach. “It will likely make her sick; slowly and quietly,” said John Andre, ND, DC.

Here’s a list of no-underwire bras recommended by Donna Eden, Vicki Mathews, and Titanya Dahlin. Donna adds that plastic underwires have the same negative impact as metal underwires.

SLIDE THE WIRES OUT!

There’s no need to toss your expensive underwire bras. If you cut a small opening at one end of the wire, you can manually remove it from each cup. You’ll probably find that your bra supports you nearly as well without them. Oh, and don’t be fooled. They make look like plastic, but they’re actually plastic-coated metal. If you find you still need the support, you can buy and insert plastic wires. Andre explains how.

Louise circle 8-7-14Louise is Executive Director of Fearless Parent and lead host and producer of Fearless Parent Radio. Last week, she surgically removed every underwire in her drawer, where the bras remain banished. Bras were never actually burned in the 1960s. Maybe it’s time.

 

 

Update – 9/8/14

Fearless Parent and I were called out by a NBC News.com senior health reporter in this Sept 5 article announcing a new study exonerating bra-wearing. Here’s my response: Ladies, Ditch the Bra vol 2 — The Fred Hutch Study Rebuttal.

 

68 Comments

  • Sydney Ross Singer

    I am a medical anthropologist breast cancer researcher, and co-author of Dressed To Kill, which is discussed in this article. I am very happy to see this article. I would like to add that there are some other studies that support the bra-cancer link.

    We did a follow-up study in Fiji, published in Get It Off! (ISCD Press, 2000). Found 24 case histories of breast cancer in a culture where half the women are bra-free. The women getting breast cancer were all wearing bras. Given women with the same genetics and diet and living in the same village, the ones getting breast disease were the ones wearing bras for work.

    A 2009 Chinese study (Zhang AQ, Xia JH, Wang Q, Li WP, Xu J, Chen ZY, Yang JM (2009). [Risk factors of breast cancer in women in Guangdong and the countermeasures]. In Chinese. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Jul;29(7):1451-3.) found that NOT sleeping in a bra was protective against breast cancer, lowering the risk 60%.

    A 2011 a study was published, in Spanish, confirming that bras are causing breast disease and cancer.http://www.portalesmedicos.com/publicaciones/articles/3691/1/Patologias-mamarias-generadas-por-el-uso-sostenido-y-seleccion-incorrecta-del-brassier-en-pacientes-que-acuden-a-la-consulta-de-mastologia- It found that underwired and push-up bras are the most harmful, but any bra that leaves red marks or indentations may cause disease.

    Most recently, a Scottish study impolicated bras and the chemicals in udnerarm deodorant and antiperspirant as causes of breast cancer. http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/bras-linked-to-rise-in-breast-cancer-1-3422526

    We are calling for a BOYCOTT of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society until they stop dismissing the bra-cancer link and begin warning women about this simple way to prevent breast cancer. When they ask for your money send them your bra, instead. That will give them the message and be the best thing you can do to prevent this terrible disease. For more please see our website http://www.KillerCulture.com.

  • Josie

    Hi Louise

    Efficient to surgically remove the under wires on already purchased bras so as to keep them but your readers should know that the market has finally begun to respond to the needs of women who simply refuse to purchase under wire….which means that that number has grown. For the longest time there were very few stylish or colorful options, though DKNY has had one for years. But these days GAP body has a plethora of colorful and stylish options…right next to the under wire options and in the same colors and style. This is wonderful news for the next generation. I had fun educating a young woman at check out in the GAP recently. Many women have no idea about the hazards of under wire. It’s so important.

    Josie

  • Jude Guidice Tovatt

    Bras in the 1970’s and 80’s were completely different! If we wore padded underwires when we first started wearing bras (confession, I’m 48 so you do the math) boys would cry “false advertising!!” and we’d be ashamed! It was with the invention of the WonderBra that we all became accustomed to “high and dry”, with plenty of extra bulk. Making our boobs look like we’ve had plastic surgery every day is a fairly new concept. We can probably track this trend with breast cancer rates and see a similar curve, although I still put most of the blame on aluminum deodorants.

  • Linda Magnifico-Levy

    Wish I could ditch the bra more often. I try as much as I can. But, being kind of large breasted it is not always a good idea. It’s so important to buy bras that FIT properly; most women don’t even know their accurate size. Once I started to wear the correct size (and not pay attention to what size the inside label reads) it was much more comfy. Of course, anything that pokes or irritates or leaves marks is out of the question for any woman. Those are definitely TOSS OUT items.

    • admin2

      Linda, I wish I had your, uh, problem. The truth is, the less you wear your bra, the more you will strengthen chest muscles and ligaments that ATROPHY through regular bra use. This even helped women with back pain they incorrectly attributed to the weight of their breasts.

      • Linda Magnifico-Levy

        LOL Louise..I don’t have the back pain issues from this, but I certainly don’t think it’s very attractive for me to go out without the support of my friendly harness, LOL. And no woman should ever sleep in a bra. Just for the record…big boobies are SO overrated..

    • admin2

      We can try camisoles with built in shelf bras, softer bras, and strategically placed ruffles or other camouflage. Seriously, I always had a bit of tenderness/pain on my right side and it’s almost gone since i stopped wearing a bra. You have to let the lymphatic fluid drain properly or toxins will stagnate in that area.

  • Linda Kuo

    One word….bralette.

  • Christina Adams

    Love love your article.

  • Cathleen Stoeckel Candey

    I always laugh when I read this because it is always written by people who are C or lower. Sorry, but that just doesn’t work for those of us who are larger. It is far more uncomfortable to go without, due to gravity. Sleeping is one thing but when standing it is VERY uncomfortable to go without. I do yoga, push-ups and a lot of back, chest and arm strengthening, so those muscles are very strong. However, the tissue will not be affected by the muscles – there are no muscles in the tissue itself. To go without means gravity will cause the continued and faster sagging of the tissues, something the muscles simply cannot reverse.

    • admin2

      I hear you, Cathleen. It is a LOT easier for me to do this (sigh). But I’ve heard from friends who are significantly more endowed than I, and they say it feels super weird at first but it gets surprisingly easier. Bras do not prevent sagging; to this, many will attest.

      • Cathleen Stoeckel Candey

        Whatever the case, having muscles won’t prevent sagging either. Going without is worse for me, it is much more comfortable with. I think there are still ways to get the lymphatic system moving such as ujjayi breathing in yoga, twisting postures, inversions, etc. that have helped me personally with the lymphatic system. Plus, keeping muscles strong and flexible, having proper posture and wearing a good fitting bra that isn’t too constructive, I rarely have back pain. I just feel that side has to be addressed for those of us who are just too big to go without. There are other ways to address the problem. I’m more concerned with toxins and heavy metals in commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants. I stay away from anything like that.

      • Lisa

        Yes! That’s what I was thinking the whole time I read this article–I would LOVE to go braless, but my breasts are much too large. They are so large, I have deep ridges at the top of my shoulders from my bra straps due to the weight of my breasts. I do not have back pain from them except for when I go braless. It seems my bra helps distribute the weight better so that no one set of muscle groups is doing the support. Shelf bras do nothing for me. I haven’t found bralette that comes close to fitting. Please, Cathleen, if you wouldn’t mind–what brand of bra do you wear?

  • Marguerite Vizza Portagallo

    Sadly, I would look like a boy without my bra!

  • Christine Miskinis

    Woo Hoo!!!

  • Marcia Serio Blackwell

    Done it already. Camisoles with built in shelf bras is how I roll.

  • Cornelia Mazzan

    I’m not there yet, but I don’t wear underwires…

  • Meghan Leahy

    No, boobs are too low. #takingmychances #noonewantstoseethat

  • Angela DeMatteo

    I stopped wearing a bra at home a while ago. It feels amazing. Do it.

  • Meghan Leahy

    I whip that shit off STAT, but when someone rings the doorbell, I have to take the “Yeah, I talk to people with my arms crossed over my chest all the time” stance. Makes signing for documents rough. I look really redneck-y. All I need is a cigg and can of Miller Lite.

  • Annette Tucker

    Yeahh, no…I need harnessed support!!!

  • Megan Geyer

    Totally 100% true. “The more you wear a bra, the more you need to wear a bra.” It has nothing to do with size. I slowly started weaning off bras a few years ago. Now I only wear one when I’m going somewhere that that bra-less seems entirely inappropriate (work setting) AND in an outfit that would make it clear that I’m not wearing a bra. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend it for all women.

  • Jessie Jaros

    I have been “free boobing” it for 20 years! Burn your Bra!

  • Anne Schuchman

    Ok, but what about the permanently “I’m interested in YOU!” Nipples…even when I’m not?

    • Jessie Jaros

      Anne, I have found that it just makes people smile I will never forget the TENS training and “put the stim pads so far under the bra line…” lol

    • Megan Geyer

      Everyone has nipples! Sometimes they can be seen through clothing. Even with a bra. People need to get used to this.

    • Anne Schuchman

      No, I think mine were permanently altered by twelve nonstop years of breastfeeding. Permanent high beams. Visible through all clothes including sweaters. I’m self conscious enough to only go braless around the house.

  • Remy Taylor Burke

    I like wearing a bra. But I’m interested

  • Biliana Colemanove

    I’m not ready. I love wearing bras without the metal, and all summer long I wear bikini tops, which seems like less pressure

  • Ellen McGilloway

    After seeing this yesterday, I tried it. Can’t, to me it is uncomfortable. Really, how does wearing a bra to hold up my boobs cause cancer? If I don’t wear one, it causes weird looks from Ryan!

  • Anonymous

    Esp. as they concede that breast/cup size can be a factor I’d really want to see them slice the numbers to compare groups of women of the same breast size who do and do not wear bras. I think there might be some additional insights.

    • Sydney Ross Singer

      Breast/cup size is not necessarily a factor. Research has been conflicting, so it isn’t a large factor, in any event. According to Komen Fdtn:
      “Breast size

      Study findings on a potential link between breast size and breast cancer have been mixed. Some studies have found having a larger breast size increases risk, while others have found no link between breast size and risk [321-326].

      Two studies have found that breast size increases risk among thin women, but not among heavy women [323,325]. In contrast, one small study found women with smaller breasts may have a higher risk of breast cancer due to tissue density patterns that are more common in smaller breasts [326].

      More research is needed to learn whether or not breast size is linked to breast cancer risk.” http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/FactorsUnderStudy.html

      I don’t normally listen to Komen, since they completely dismiss the bra issue despite research showing a significant link, but their analysis above is accurate.

      That said, I agree that there should be much more research on the bra link. Unfortunately, the agencies that fund research are not interested.

  • Christine Rosenow Hoff

    Ya!

  • Tami Zink Duncan

    Ha! This supports my yearly plea to encourage all women to let their boobies free!

  • Rachel

    I go braless as often as possible, but I will agree with the other commenters who are “blessed” as I am. 🙂 Going braless may be wonderful and freeing when you are under a C cup, but it isn’t that great when you are a DD. I breastfed 3 kids (they are now 16, 18 and 20), I’m 42, and my boobies definitely hang low! ha! There is absolutely no way in hell I can go out in public without a bra. Just sayin’…

  • Sue

    All through the 90’s I didn’t wear a bra, not even to work. It was quite common. Then we got a bit prudish and so I wore one for the 00’s. But I’ve happily mostly ditched it again now. I’m quite fat at the moment so none of my bras fit. They are too tight and dig in, which I hate.

    Even before that, because I have a broad back, my options for anything not underwired was very small and I hate the wires, they really do dig in, especially under the arms, I have permanent depressions in the fat under the skin there as a result. To buy a non-wired bra I was faced with things that looked like trussing! Massive back straps with 3 hooks for goodness sake! I’m much more comfortable without them.

    My cousin works for me. She’s way bigger than me in that department and she has to be forced into a bra by some special event. We both swing free and are happy! Just get used to it. It’s worth it.

    Back in the 20’s and 30’s when clothes moved away from serious corsetry, no one wore bra’s. The slender styles of 1930’s dresses required not. We are a strange age. We think we are progressive, but in some ways we are very much the opposite. No one will be offended by a boob. Even blokes have them these days!

  • Amie Butchko

    Very interesting article. I am really hoping this strategy has merit. I have horrible cysts and keep having to go back for biopsies due to “suspicious” microcalcifications. I would LOVE if I could find a way to alleviate this worry! I am going to try it!

  • sherrie

    While I find the article interesting I think I am going to be stuck with wearing a bra.
    With a size h cup and a small back, if I don’t wear a bra I get intertrigo (sweat rash) even though I wash regularly and if I can wear breathable clothes. This often will cause infection and a form of elogated cut or sore under the breast and is actually quite painful to deal with. I then have to resort to thick creams reserved for nappy rash and such like sudocrem.
    While I try not to wear a bra as much as possible, and certainly never sleep in one, why anyone would as lets face it they can be uncomfortable, is beyond me. Unfortunately if I go out in public, I have to otherwise my breasts are located somewhere above my waist in line with my elbows. And they do actually cause significant back pain and even worse tingly annoying minor pain in the overstretched skin above the breast.
    I would advocate investing in well made and simple bra design, non of this wonderbra and all that bells and whistles bras. Every time you buy try the bra on, as different companies and styles are all slightly different sizes and make sure it fits properly. Preferably get bra’s that are cotton and without underwire, but they are quite difficult to obtain. Oh and people should launder their bra frequently (preferably daily). If you think about it every thing you’ve used under your arm and on your skin not to mention sweat has become trapped in the fibre of the bra as you’ve worn it, so you may take it off and have a good bath, shower or wash but when you put the same bra on the next day all yesterday’s grime and chemicals are also put back onto your nice clean skin.
    I think also people should be made more aware of the hazards hidden in deodorants and antiperspirants, and even in cheap body creams, perfumes and cosmetics.
    Most women I know go out plastered in cosmetics, body spray, fake tan, fully made up and a load more stuff and they don’t realize that in that little lot they’ve probably exposed themselves to approximately one hundred ingredients. While all the ingredients may have all been tested as safe singularly, there is absolutely no way a company has tested together the exact cocktail of chemicals that you are putting on your skin.

  • Jenn

    I have a type of lymphoma. I’ve had it for 10 years. They sent me home to die 10 years ago. I also have DDs, down from EEs. I never wear a bra. Yes there’s evidence of gravity. But its better than cancer. Bras congest lymph, impacted lymph leads to all kinds of health issues including cancer. I’ve read more studies than are listed here. There’s enough research to convince me. Since I stopped wearing bras, I’ve gotten way better. Rebounding on a mini trampoline moves lymph. Letting your breasts bounce a little moves lymph out of them the best. You don’t have to let them bound about completely. Contain them enough not to black your eyes. 😉 In public I wear coveralls, a vest or jacket/shirt over whatever else I’m wearing. As long as I’m not running, no problems. At 53 running isn’t frequent.

  • Sandra

    I have been wearing a soft “ah bra” for three years, very comfortable. My grandmother never wore a bra in her life.

  • Toni Maloney

    Been going without a bra for 50 years. My breasts are tight and firm. Perky, one might add. Muscles are toned. Feel great! Best thing I ever did! I’m out there and loving it! I recommend it to any woman!

  • Gayle

    Hi, Louise. I have been wearing wireless bras for decades now, initially due to the lack of comfort (those underwires actually hurt my skin and poked at my ribs, and none were ever comfortable enough to inspire me to make the purchase), and later due to concerns about their link to breast cancer. Underwire bras may look pretty, especially with their matching panties, but they are just not worth the pain or the link to cancer. I particularly like Champion and Anita brand sports bras.

  • Amala

    Its great to see all sorts of response. I’ll add my 2 cents:

    I’m not convinced with this study/idea for multiple reasons:
    The co-author Sydney Singer cites a study done in Fiji (where 1/2 of the women go bra-free; 25 that wore a bra “for work” got breast cancer): is it possible that the women who wore a bra were also exposed to abnoxious chemicals at their workplace?

    I’m small chested, so it is easier for me to go bra-free. But I truly genuinely feel this is not sound advice for everyone.

    Some advice (which I already follow) taken out of this story is:
    1. NEVER NEVER wear a bra past a certain time of the day, say 9pm. Never to bed. That on a regular basis, gives almost 1/2 a day of bra-free time, enough to allow things to drain..
    2. Wear lose clothing to sleep, not the “snug-fitting” styles they recommend for children – it is so unhealthy to wear tight clothing to sleep.
    3. Wear natural fabrics to sleep – and on any part of the body that is wrapped snug; ie, all my panties are cotton – I can’t even tolerate polyester. If one pictures polyester to be “synthetic, manufactured using chemicals” (which truly is the case!), while cotton grows on trees, it is an easy transition mentally.
    4. Lastly, as one of the studies cited earlier, ANTI-PERSPIRANTS and DEODERANTS are extremely unhealthy! Your underarm possesses the most important lymph nodes and toxin-excreting pores. To block them off with chemicals is just plain begging for cancer! Take a shower more often! Use water to wash off, eat less meat products (reduces nasty smell by 80%) in your diet, and if things are really bad, then use baby powder. This with hopes that manufacturers don’t use harsh chemicals in products made for babies..

    This is a cultural shift needed, where young teenagers are trained to wear anti-perspirants when they start to sweat more.. But I wasn’t trained to (growing up in India) so it is easier for me to say no to deoderants when I saw it being used in the United States for the first time when I was 22. I actually never liked the idea of sticky chemicals on my underarm, giving me a ‘false security’ of ‘I smell good!’

    Of course it is easier to ask folks to go bra free, I think, than it is to ask folks to go deoderant free!

    Also, reducing the quantity of milk products we consume might help a lot with this whole topic of breast cancer….

  • G.G.

    Thanks for this article. I know that rebounding on a mini trampoline is good to move lymph – should you do this wearing a bra? Will the bra negate the benefits? Also, is jumping on a large trampoline just as beneficial as the mini tramp?

    I would love it if Fearless Parent did an article on the risks/benefits of mammography. It appears that the tide is shifting on how much mammography is beneficial. I’m suppose to go for mine this week, and I don’t know what to do. It would be the 3rd one in 3 years. I’m 53. If I had cancer I’d want to find it earlier rather than later, but I don’t want to contribute to its development by having mammograms. What’s a woman to do?

    • admin2

      GG, can you wait until Sept 10? I just had my first themographic scan last month, and we’re going to address the topic on Fearless Parent Radio (with Dr. Kelly Brogan). We’ll be writing about mammography, too.

      I think wearing a bra while exercising is a good idea.

      I’m no trampoline expert but I’m guessing there’s a tradeoff between size and duration. A larger tramp would probably yield more lymphatic action in a shorter amount of time. Let’s ask others to weigh in.

  • Donna Walter

    I had two years of a really good bra experience. The Brassage was brilliant for me. I looked good in it and the organic material good for my head and planet. Every bra before that and since when removed a relief but achy breasts. Brassage removed and breasts felt great.

  • carrien - she laughs at the days

    My bra habit began as a 12 year old when I realized that the pain I was constantly feeling in my chest as an active preteen was easily alleviated by wearing a bra that kept my breasts from bouncing. I’ve worn a bra ever since. Once I started breatsfeeding, which I’ve been doing almost nonstop for the last 13 years, I wore a loose tank type bra to bed too. I need to do this to protect them from injury, elbows, small children’s heads, etc. It’s much less painful to keep the girls contained, is what I’m saying.

    You can bet your boobies that none of the women in the French study who didn’t wear bras were well endowed. I know this simply because a well endowed woman would almost always prefer to wear a bra. It’s a comfort issue.

    Also, It’s obvious they haven’t done a broad enough sample group for another reason as well. All one need to do is look at the pictures of women in Africa, Asia, etc. who have gone, with out bras, or shirts, their entire lives. Their breasts look more like udders than breasts. Gravity does, in fact, have a negative affect on breast shape and how low they sit.

    Bras may or may not cause cancer. I have nothing to say about that. But the assertion that it feels fine to go without a bra, and you will stop feeling pain after a while is patently false, at least, if you’re a DD or higher as I am. I will continue wearing bras, because I know from experience that the alternative is extremely uncomfortable for me.

  • admin2

    Just wanted to thank the author for this article and getting the info out to the public. I am 72 and have not worn a bra since my mid-20’s… fortunately I didn’t really need one, and didn’t have children. But realized early on that bras block the lymph circulation, etc. I did try to have one of natural fiber to use for certain social occasions, but I found I just could not wear it — could not breathe! I have advised many friends over the years to at least avoid bras with wires! I have also avoided commercial deodorants with aluminum, and get regular ayurvedic massages which stimulate the lymph flow.

    On how it looks, being braless, not being socially accepted in certain situations, etc: I like to wear a loose, sleeveless open vest over a T-shirt or blouse, if there’s any possible problem [e.g., going out with one’s elderly parents and their friends, a much older generation]. Or occasionally a natural fiber camisole under my tops [bought for me by my mother, naturally!]

    I noted the subject of thermography was brought up by one commenter. I have been getting computerized thermography for the past 7 years or so, during my visits to the states. I’ve been 3 times now, and once to the ‘regular’ thermography where they just do the infra-red scan of the breasts. The computerized version does 120 points all over the body, not just the breasts, and picks up subtle changes years in advance of actual problems.

    By the way, I’ve never had a mammogram — when I was young, they used to tell us that radiation causes cancer, so I figured, why expose myself to more radiation? It might make a relatively harmless clump of cells become dangerous.

    As many people commented, those women with much larger, heavier breasts do have a different experience and I can’t speak for them. Their discomfort may also exacerbated by the culture, related to the ridiculous obsession so many men have with breasts, so the women don’t feel emotionally/socially comfortable without keeping them “contained” [aside from physical discomfort, which is a different issue]. I don’t have much patience with such immature male attitudes any more, and I’m horrified when women allow men’s obsession to entice them into enlarging their perfectly fine breasts artificially!

  • Kara Donnellan

    Love the article, and the discussion….many good ideas to consider.

  • Pingback: Bra Breast Cancer: Study Reveals Connection | Sunburst Nutrition

  • Kristina

    Honestly, with 34G I don’t think I’ll be ditching bras any time soon. If I go 1 day without a bra I end up at the chiropractor with my neck out of whack so bad I can’t move my head, and a bunch of blood blisters on my nipples from them being rubbed by my shirts. So I’ll stick with the bras, thanks.

  • Julie

    I need a LOT more scientific evidence before I come to the conclusion that wearing a bra causes breast cancer. And though I have about a thimbleful of breast tissue (only a slight exaggeration) I feel for those women who do not have the option to go braless without significant discomfort. There is no way in hell that someone who has very large breasts can strengthen underlying muscle tissue and tendons sufficiently to support their weight. That is the biggest load of BS I’ve ever come across. I am frustrated that we “shame” each other into certain behaviors based on the latest fad. If you feel more comfortable wearing a bra regardless of your breast size, more power to you. Do what makes sense to you and makes you happy.

    • admin2

      Hi, Julie. The beauty of our lifestyle choices is that they are choices. Life is filled with tradeoffs and we are almost always making decisions with incomplete information. No one here is suggesting that you should do something that doesn’t make sense to you. If you need more evidence then you should either look for it or wait for it. Your comment was so filled with contempt (“biggest load of BS”) and felt like a disproportionate response to the tone of this post, however, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is perhaps an undisclosed conflict of interest. Your email address indicates that you are possibly affiliated with one of the big companies involved in the US market for breast cancer detection and diagnostic technologies.

  • Yves

    I find it curious that the latest study by Seattle’s not been without a bra control group to say that the bra does not give cancer? We already knew that women with bra developed breast cancer. The medical study published Venezuela also studied women who wear a bra and found exactly the opposite: The bra generates pathologies. But this study had more than a clinical examination did not study in Seattle, and women were not only post menopausal.
    See the various studies here: http://fr.slideshare.net/Yves971/the-hazards-of-wearing-a-bra-52-26823140?related=1

  • John

    Researchers spent 15 years studying the breasts of over 330 French women, and concluded that wearing a bra does not prevent sagging or ease back pain from bra wearing as commonly thought. “Medically, physiologically, anatomically, breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity,” Professor Jean-Denis Bouillon, from the University of Besancon, told France Info Radio, “If you get rid of the bra, your breasts will finally be able to flush out the fluid. This supports the fact that breast cancer risk is increased by wearing a bra or a bra that’s too tight.”

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  • Jessica

    I have now been completely bra free for the past several months. I made the decision to go braless after hearing about the link between wearing bras and breast cancer. I have a bit of a larger chest, and at first it was uncomfortable but now I don’t even notice it. It feels so much better to go without a bra. I’ve always worn jackets and coats most of the time so most people don’t even notice I don’t think. It hides it for the most part. And for the record, since going braless my breasts don’t look as saggy as they once did. In fact, they now look better.

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