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Study Dispels Bra-Breast Cancer Myth

Can a bra actually cause breast cancer? A new study provides a clear answer to that question and it’s a resounding ‘no’.

Somewhat surprisingly, the alleged connection between bras and breast cancer has a lengthy history. The preeminent book on the subject, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, was written almost 20 years ago. Since that time the book has been widely criticized by the American Cancer Society and other health experts, but it still managed to stir up quite a lot of controversy.

For that reason, Lu Chen, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, felt the subject needed further investigation. “Given how common bra wearing is, we thought this was an important question to address,” Chen said.

Chen’s study shows there’s little scientific evidence to support claims that bras can cause breast cancer. The researchers behind the study, which involved 1,500 postmenopausal women, found absolutely no link between a brassiere and increased risk of breast cancer.

The study’s report, which was recently published in the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, is just one part of a wider project known as the SHARE (Seattle Area Hormone and Reproductive Epidemiology Breast Cancer) Study, which examines different breast cancer risk factors.

Chen, who is currently a doctoral student of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health, acknlowedges that the idea that bras could cause breast cancer seems “implausible” because there’s “limited biological evidence to support” the claim.

But he felt it was important to address the question because, to date, “very few scientific studies have addressed these concerns.”


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