The link between bras and breast cancer


When medical anthropologists Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer questioned women about their bra-wearing habits they uncovered some shocking correlations:

  • 3 out of 4 women who wore their bras 24 hours a day developed breast cancer.
  • Women who wear their bras 24 hours a day have a 125-fold, or 12,500% higher, chance of getting breast cancer than women who do not wear a bra at all.
  • 1 out of 7 women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed developed breast cancer.
  • 1 out of 152 women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day got breast cancer.
  • 1 out of 168 women who rarely or never wore bras got breast cancer.

What could be behind this set of correlations?

Breasts are loaded with lymphatic tissue, and the lymphatic system is the body’s waste clean-up system.

Bras – which restrict lymphatic flow in and around the breasts – increase congestion in this area, slowing down clearance of toxins from the breasts. The toxins pool and concentrate, and this increases the risk of breast diseases, including breast cancer.

But the bra-less look is not always a good one…and won’t going bra-free cause your breasts to sag?

This second one is largely a myth. In fact, it is possible that the constant artificial support of a bra is more likely to cause sagging than prevent it as the body’s ligaments – including those in the breasts – are known to atrophy when not in use.

Personally, I ditched underwired bras around a year ago when this information first came on my radar – except for special occasions when I’m wearing a dress that demands one (a rarity). I now wear a fitted camisole most days.

If what I’m wearing doesn’t work with a cami, I go for a non-wired bra. In the warmer months I often wear bikini tops under my clothes – they are effectively non-wired bras.

SO…the take-home message is:

  • Don’t wear underwired bras – choose non-wired ones instead or, if possible, wear a camisole or other vest top with built-in support.
  • Make sure your bra is not too tight. If it’s leaving red marks on your shoulders or back, it’s affecting your lymphatic system.
  • Go bra-less whenever you can, including when you’re relaxing at home.
  • Don’t wear a bra at night.

Go here to read essential cancer prevention tips from Thomas Lodi, M.D., founder of the Oasis of Healing cancer clinic in Mesa, Arizona.



  • I read your article about the link between breast cancer and bras. I really would like to see source of the information so I can feel more comfortable sharing this info with my lady friends.

    Could you please send me the link or title of the article?

    Thanks so much for making me aware of this issue.

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    • If you google “bras and breast cancer”, “Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer”, or their book “Dressed to Kill”, you will find further information on this topic. There are, of course, those who deny there is any link between bras and breast cancer. Some scientists discount Singer and Grismaijer’s findings as their survey was not a properly conducted epidemiological study.

      It is for each of us to make up our own minds what we believe. Personally, it makes absolute sense to me that tight bras must hamper the functioning of the lymphatic system – but in this and everything else, I encourage everyone to weigh up the evidence for themselves and do what feels right to them.

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    • An information source that is right about everything? Not realistic.

      I actually think the key sentence in the article is this one: “Because the idea of bras’ causing breast cancer is so scientifically implausible, it seems unlikely that researchers will ever spend their time and resources to test it in a real epidemiological study.”

      There is no conclusive answer on this. We don’t know. It’s common sense that restricting lymphatic flow can’t be a good thing – therefore is it really so implausible that doing so may increase the risk of disease?

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  • I saw this article re-written by some stupid quack on health2us who put down more information about the link between bras and breast cancer. There has been numerous reports saying there is no evidence whatsoever to back up this claim and many reporters have said it is a ridiculous theory. And this person said the breast cancer theory is true! What an idiot! (read at the end of the page)I’m going with what anyone else has to say. If there is no proof or link to be found anywhere, then the case is closed. I don’t believe it and don’t shove false information on the internet without backup. I’m glad I read your post. You seem to use a lot of logic to your answers.It is implausible this whole thing. This is my link here:

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    • Hi Richard – Certain vegan foods contain vitamin D. Perhaps the best source of all is dried shiitake mushrooms. Other than that, the options are animal foods or supplements, and neither is ideal. There is a question mark over whether raising D3 levels artificially, through supplementation, brings benefits. Of the animal foods that are super rich in vitamin D, fish is probably the least harmful option.

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