Pinch of Cancer: Can Wearing a Bra Kill You?
you didn't burn yours in the 'Sixties, you might want to put it away now. "Bras
cause breast cancer. It's open and shut," says medical researcher Syd
Singers became breast cancer sleuths in 1991. On the day Soma discovered a lump
in her breast, the husband-wife team was studying the effects of Western medicine
on Fijians. In the shower, Syd noticed that Soma's shoulders and breasts were
outlined by dark red grooves. He remembered a puzzled Fijian woman asking his
wife about her brassiere:
it feel tight?"
get used to it," Soma had replied.
bras be constricting breast tissue, Syd wondered, hampering lymph drainage and
decided to stop wearing hers. But when Syd searched the medical literature he
found no known causes of breast cancer, which rarely appears before a woman's
mid-thirties, most often after 40. The highest death rates from breast cancer
are in North America and northern Europe, with the developing world catching up
World Health Organization calls chemical toxins the primary cause of cancer. But
poisons accumulating in breast tissue are normally flushed by clear lymph fluid
into large clusters of lymph nodes nestling in the armpits and upper chest. The
Singers found that "because lymphatic vessels are very thin, they are extremely
sensitive to pressure and are easily compressed." Chronic minimal pressure
on the breasts can cause lymph valves and vessels to close.
oxygen and fewer nutrients are delivered to the cells, while waste products are
not flushed away," the Singers noted. After 15 or 20 years of bra-constricted
lymph drainage, cancer can result.
at other cultures, Soma and Syd were struck by the low incidence of breast cancer
in poorer nations awash in pesticides dumped by northern nations. They didn't
find peasant women wearing push-up bras. Instead, they discovered that the Maoris
of New Zealand integrated into white culture have the same rate of breast cancer,
while Australia's marginalized aboriginals have virtually no breast cancer. The
same trend held for "Westernized" Japanese, Fijians and other bra-converted
To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, the researchers also observed
that just before a woman begins her period, estrogen floods her system, causing
her breasts to swell. If she continues wearing the same bra size, life-saving
lymphatics will be even more tightly squished. Had they found the "estrogen
link" to breast cancer?
women never fully develop their breast-cleansing lymphatic system. Nor do women
who have never breast-fed. Working women who wear bras everyday and postpone having
children could be at higher risk, the Singers warn.
worse, a young woman's coming of age is often "marked" by her first
bra. Like the ancient Chinese practice of foot-binding, "breast-binding"
at puberty can eventually lead to severe medical complications.
bras be the "missing link" in a growing epidemic of breast cancer? Beginning
in May, 1991, Soma and Syd Singer's 30-month "Bra and Breast Cancer"
study interviewed some 4,000 women in five major US cities. All were Caucasian
of mostly "medium income" ranging in age from 30 to 79. Half had been
diagnosed with breast cancer.
all of the women interviewed were unhappy with the size or shape of their breasts.
Women who chose a bra for appearance, ignoring soreness and swelling, had twice
the rate of breast cancer of those who did not.
the most startling statistic was that three out of four women who wore their daytime
bras to sleep contracted breast cancer. So did one out seven women strapped into
a bra more than 12 hours a day. Bra-free women have just a one in 168 chance of
being diagnosed with breast cancer, says Singer. The same as bra-free men.
sleep in your bra!" Syd Singer pleads. "Women who want to avoid breast
cancer should wear a bra for the shortest period of time possible -- certainly
for less than 12 hours daily."
also submits that some 80% of bra-wearers who experience lumps, cysts and tenderness
will see those symptoms vanish, "within a month of getting rid of the bra."
everyone is ready to hang up her halter. As one woman told the team, "My
tits will sag all the way to my navel without a bra." But Surgeon Christine
Haycock at the New Jersey College of Medicine says that inherited traits -- not
ligaments or breast size -- are the reason some breasts give in to gravity. Bouncing
bosoms help clear the lymphatics.
aware that their findings were "explosive," the Singers sent their survey
results to the heads of America's most prestigious cancer organizations and institutes.
None responded. Like the cancer business, the bra business is huge. Multiply how
many worldwide women buy several $25 bras every year and you end up with a multiple
of the $6 billion-a-year US bra business.
Singer says that establishment censorship of the bra-breast cancer connection
is killing women. Pointing to the biggest commonality among breast cancer patients,
he's emphatic that it's bra-squeezed lymphatics.
bra-less for all occasions, Soma began dressing to de-emphasize her breasts. She
also began regular breast massage and bicycle riding, vitamin and herbal supplementation,
and drinking only purified water.
months later, her lump disappeared.
the first frightening sign of a lump, an angry Syd Singer says, "women should
take their bras off before they take their breasts off." Why wait, when you
can liberate your lymphatics now.
YOU MUST WEAR A BRA:
and sports bras are out. Choose loose-fitting cotton bras. Make sure you can slip
two fingers under the shoulder-straps and side-panels. The higher the side-panels,
the more severe the restriction of major lymph nodes. Don't wear this disastrous
device to sleep. Take it off at home. Massage your breasts every time you remove
your bra. Sing your lymphatics into health -- or at least breathe deeply.
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