Seattle research finds no link between wearing bra, breast cancer

Sep 5, 2014, 5:56 AM | Updated: 1:01 pm
Seattle researchers have determined there's no link between wearing a bra and breast cancer. (AP Photo/File)
(AP Photo/File)

If you wear a bra to bed, or know somebody who does, researchers in Seattle have findings that should help you sleep better.

It’s been noted that breast cancer is more evident in the U.S. and other developed countries than in developing nations, where wearing a bra is less common. Many risk factors, such as family history, genetics, weight, alcohol use and ethnicity are well documented.

Controversial health author Sydney Singer is among those who claim that bras are also a risk factor because they inhibit the lymphatic system.

“The problem is when you squeeze the breasts, you’re going to make them sick, you’re going to cause disease, ultimately cancer,” Singer told the Vinny Eastwood Show.

But researcher Lu Chen at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), in Seattle, interviewed more than 1,000 post-menopausal women with cancer and 469 women without cancer. She also questioned women without cancer as a control group. She examined their medical histories and bra-wearing habits.

“We found there was no evidence that wearing a bra is associated with breast cancer,” she said. “In addition, breast cancer risk is not impacted by bra-wearing frequency, wearing a bra with an underwire or starting to wear a bra at a young age,” Chen concluded.

Chen conceded a limitation of the findings, noting that just one of the 1,500 women in the study had never worn a bra. So researchers could not make a valid comparison between women who do and do not wear a bra.

Links between bras and cancer have been dismissed by the medical and scientific communities, including the National Cancer Institute, which funded the Seattle study.

“I think women should be reassured that wearing a bra is not associated with breast cancer,” said Chen.

Breast cancers kill 40,000 people each year. Even though this issue has been out there for 20 years, there is scant research into any link between bras and cancer, according to FHCRC.

The issue was first raised in the 1993 book Dressed to Kill: The Link between Breast Cancer and Bras. The authors are not backing down, according to a news release Friday morning from FHCRC. In an email, Singer questioned why the authors studied post-menopausal women rather than pre-menopausal women and said that their conclusion “suggests a pro-bra bias.”

FHCRC responded by pointing out that most breast cancers are diagnosed in older women – and they also have the longest lifetime exposure to wearing bras.

Research findings are published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of American Association for Cancer Research.

Local News

Associated Press

Man charged with murder in deaths of missing mom, girl

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The man named as a person of interest in the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old daughter was charged with two counts of murder in their deaths, police in Washington state said Friday. Detectives from the Vancouver Police Department booked Kirkland Warren for two counts of first-degree murder Friday after […]
1 day ago
kidnapping...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Manufactured roadblocks lead to attempted kidnapping in Pierce County

The woman described the suspect as a Hispanic male between 20 and 30 years of age. He is approximately 5-foot-7.
1 day ago
human trafficking...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Vashon Island man arrested on ten federal charges related to human trafficking

According to the media release, Ruiz-Hernandez used force, threats of force, and physical violence to force an adult to work for him.
1 day ago
the last of us...
Frank Sumrall

‘The Last of Us’ Season 2, set in Seattle, to be filmed in BC

The series premiere was watched by 4.7 million viewers on the first day it was released — the second-biggest for HBO since 2010.
1 day ago
capitol campus...
Nicole Jennings

WSP prepares for any Trump-related unrest at WA State Capitol

The WSP is gearing up in case there is unrest on the State Capitol Campus in Olympia when former President Trump is arraigned.
1 day ago
road closures...
Nate Connors

Weekend Traffic: Daffodil Parade, Monster Jam to cause slowdowns

Drivers will have to navigate a number of road closures along the many parade routes for the Daffodil Festival for most of Saturday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Seattle research finds no link between wearing bra, breast cancer