Can Wearing A Bra Cause Breast Cancer?

How many times have you heard from people around you that wearing a bra can cause breast cancer? We believe you’ve surely heard or read it somewhere. But how true is this when wearing a bra is important in the first place? Well, frankly speaking, as long as you have breasts, you have all the possibilities to get breast cancer whether or not you wear a bra. Women tend to be in the vulnerable side to getting breast cancer as compared to men. Today, we are going to debunk one of the most believed bra myths: whether they can cause breast cancer or not.

How the bra myth started

In the days where social media and Internet can easily spread words and news among people, it has been a long rumor that wearing bras (or mostly, underwired bras) can increase the risks of women getting breast cancer because they will block the drainage of lymph fluid from the bottom of the breast so it can’t get back into your body. But is this actually true? There is, however, no scientific evidence or studies that have proven so. 

To be more accurate when the rumors started to widely circulate, it was back in 1995, when a book titled Dressed To Kill claimed that women who wear bras for 12 hours a day have a higher probability of getting breast cancer than women who do not wear one. The reason behind this was due to the build-up of toxins in the breast because the underwire in the bra has restricted the lymph system.

Where Bra Myths Started
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However, according to the National Center of Health Research, “there is no such evidence that proves that the compression of lymph nodes causes breast cancer. And contrary to what was stated in the book, body fluids do not travel toward the underwire, but into the underarm lymph nodes.

Furthermore, in a study published in 2014, postmenopausal females were interviewed about their lifelong bra-wearing patterns. After evaluating 500 participants who do not have breast cancer and more than 1,000 participants with breast cancer, they found no connection between the number of hours spent wearing a bra or underwired bra and the increased risk for breast cancer. But why are people still believing this rumor, even though it is not proven to be true? Well, according to Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, she stated her hypothesis that

It originates from people’s desire to have control over certain aspects of life that we are uncertain of, which caused us to find something to blame, hoping that by avoiding bras, they can avoid breast cancer as well.

Possible Factors That Can Cause Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness
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Instead of blaming it on the bras, cancer is primarily caused by several factors. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some people have risk factors that they can’t change while others may be able to develop the risk factors depending on their habits. These are the possible factors causing breast cancer that you can’t change,

  1. Aging. As you’re getting older, you become more likely to be at risk for breast cancer. Not to mention that most cases of breasts cancer are found in women aged 50 and above,
  2. Genetic factor. Genetics contributes to the main factor that leads to breast cancer. If you have a family with a history of breasts cancer or ovarian cancer, the possibility of you getting exposed to breasts cancer will be higher than those who don’t,
  3. Personal History. Previous medical history such as undergoing radiation therapy before 30, exposure to the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), or if you were a patient of breast cancer in the past, you are at a higher risk to develop breast cancer in later life.

Besides, some risk factors can change based on your habits. This includes,

  1. Passive Lifestyle. If you are not physically active, you’ll basically have a higher likelihood to get breast cancer.
  2. Overweight or Obesity. Obesity and overweight can increase the risk of getting breast cancer. A healthy diet and lifestyle are important if we wanna prevent ourselves from breast cancer even ‘though we are within the normal weight.
  3. Drinking alcohol and smoking. Unfortunately, breast cancer is always eyeing on you as long as you’re still developing this habit.

Breast Cancer Prevention Steps

Bra Myths: Bra & Breast Cancer
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How to prevent ourselves from the probability of developing breast cancer? Follow these few steps:

  1. Develop a healthy diet. We can’t deny it, consuming a healthy diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer. As a bonus, it can also make your breast skin healthier and firmer.
  2. Be Physically Active. If you have had a sedentary lifestyle all this time, it’s time to slowly quit and schedule regular exercise. Besides, try taking the stairs as much as possible. Instead of ordering food delivery to your doorstep, why don’t you try cycling or walking to the nearby restaurant?
  3. Limit alcohol and cigarettes. It might be hard to cut down your alcohol intake and smoking but this habit will not only increase your risk of breast cancer but will also cause your boobs to lose their elasticity. In replacement, drink enough water.
  4. Do your research on your family history. Your family history will decide your genes and any hereditary diseases that might attack you anytime. This is why knowing your family history can help you to prepare for the worst which can reduce the risk of developing any unwanted diseases.
  5. Keep your weight in check and get your mammograms. Don’t let your body be overweight or underweight and have a balanced diet. Getting your mammograms will also be helpful to detect breast cancer earlier which will let you get early treatment of breast cancer. This becomes a must if you’re at a higher risk of cancer and have reached age 40 and above.


From here, do you still believe that wearing a bra can cause cancer? In fact, wearing a bra doesn’t have a correlation with breast cancer. As of now, there is no reliable study stating that wearing a bra is scientifically proven to be the cause of breast cancer. So, don’t worry, girls! Go get that bra and wear it anytime you want especially when necessary. Don’t let yourself be consumed by any bra myths. Last but not least, try your best to live a healthy lifestyle so that we can prevent breast cancer from lingering around our bodies. Healthy habits, healthy breasts!

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Thanks for reading along!

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