More Information on Breast Cancer And Bras

Why Bras Are Bad

The bra-cancer link is not new. Doctors knew bras were causing breast cancer as far back as the 1930’s. 


For example, Dr. John Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, wrote in the article “Susceptibility to Cancer” in the 1931 Annals of Surgery, that “Cancer of the breast occurs largely among civilized women. In those countries where breasts are allowed to be exposed, that is, are not compressed or irritated by clothing, it is rare.” A bra patent in 1950 stated, “Even in the proper breast size, most brassieres envelop or bind the breast in such a fashion that normal circulation and freedom of movement is constricted. Many cases of breast cancer have been attributed to such breast constriction as caused by improperly fitted brassieres.”  (Taken from the 2018 edition of Dressed to Kill.)


The issue has to do with constriction from tight bras and the effect this has on lymphatic circulation, which is the immune system. The purpose of bras is to alter breast shape, and to do this the bra applies constant pressure to the breasts, which interferes with lymphatic circulation. Wearing tight bras compresses and constricts these delicate lymphatic vessels, preventing the proper elimination of fluid and toxins from the breasts, and impairing immune function and the ability to fight developing cancer cells. Essentially, bras cause chronic, mild lymphedema of the breasts which causes breast pain, cysts, and can lead to cancer..

This causes fluid and toxins to accumulate in the breasts, which results in breast pain and cysts. It also prevents the proper cleansing of the breast tissue, resulting progressive tissue toxification.


Keep in mind that the lymphatic system is the circulatory pathway of the immune system. Without proper lymphatic drainage, the breasts cannot be effectively cleansed of waste products, cancer cells, viruses, bacteria, cell debris, and other products that are normally flushed away. 


Lymphatic impairment is immune impairment. It also increases cancer development.


The breast tissue gets deprived of oxygen and nutrients, as well, when the lymphatics are impaired. And any toxins we consume in our polluted air, water and food, as well as toxic medications, cannot effectively be flushed away from the breast tissue when the breasts are constricted by bras. Some of these toxins are also carcinogenic.  The bra concentrates these toxins in the breast.

Some Studies that Support the Bra-Cancer Link


  • 1991 Harvard study (CC Hsieh, D Trichopoulos (1991). Breast size, handedness and breast cancer risk. European Journal of Cancer and Clinical Oncology 27(2):131-135.). This study found that, “Premenopausal women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra users…”
  • 1991-93 U.S. Bra and Breast Cancer Study by Singer and Grismaijer, published in Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras (Second Edition, Square One Publishers, 2018). Found that bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men. 24/7 bra wearing increases incidence over 100 times that of a bra-free woman.
  • Singer and Grismaijer did a follow-up study in Fiji, published in Get It Off! (ISCD Press, 2000). Found 24 case histories of breast cancer in a culture where half the women are bra-free. The women getting breast cancer were all wearing bras. Given women with the same genetics and diet and living in the same village, the ones getting breast disease were the ones wearing bras for work.
  • A 2009 Chinese study (Zhang AQ, Xia JH, Wang Q, Li WP, Xu J, Chen ZY, Yang JM (2009). [Risk factors of breast cancer in women in Guangdong and the countermeasures]. In Chinese. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Jul;29(7):1451-3.) found that NOT sleeping in a bra was protective against breast cancer, lowering the risk 60%.
  • 2011 a study was published, in Spanish, confirming that bras are causing breast disease and cancer.  It found that underwired and push-up bras are the most harmful, but any bra that leaves red marks or indentations may cause disease.
  • 2014 Lymphedema and subclinical lymphostasis (microlymphedema) facilitate cutaneous infection, inflammatory dermatoses, and neoplasia: A locus minoris resistentiae. Clin Dermatol. 2014 Sep-Oct;32(5):599-615.
  • 2015  Comparative study of breast cancer risk factors at Kenyatta National Hospital and the Nairobi Hospital     J. Afr. Cancer (2015) 7:41-46.  This study found a significant bra-cancer link in pre-and post-menopausal women.
  • 2016  Wearing a Tight Bra for Many Hours a Day is Associated with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer     Adv Oncol Res Treat 1: 105. This is the first epidemiological study to look at bra tightness and time worn, and found a significant bra-cancer link.
  • 2016 Brassiere wearing and breast cancer risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis  World J Meta-Anal. Aug 26, 2015; 3(4): 193-205 "This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the association between 8 areas of brassiere-wearing practices and the risk of breast cancer. Twelve case-control studies met inclusion criteria for review. Although the meta-analysis shows statistically significant findings to support the association between brassiere wearing during sleep and breast cancer risk, evidence was insufficient to establish a positive association between brassiere wearing (duration and type) and breast cancer risk. A large-scale epidemiological study is needed to examine the relationship between various forms of brassiere exposure and breast cancer risk."
  • 2016 Lymphatic Vessels, Inflammation, and Immunity in Skin Cancer Cancer Discov. 2016 Jan; 6(1): 22–35. 
  • 2017 Surgical damage to the lymphatic system promotes tumor growth via impaired adaptive immune response Journal of Dermatological Science April 2018Volume 90, Issue 1, Pages 46–51 "These results strongly indicate that surgical damage of the lymphatic system may promote tumor progression via impaired adaptive immune response."
  • 2018 Mechanical forces in skin disorders  Journal of Dermatological Science Available March 2018 "Mechanical forces are known to regulate homeostasis of the skin and play a role in the pathogenesis of skin diseases….Acral melanoma predominantly occurs in the weight-bearing area of the foot suggesting the role of mechanical stress. Increased dermal stiffness from fibrosis might be the cause of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa associated squamous cell carcinoma."
  • 2018 Lymph stasis promotes tumor growth Journal of Dermatological Science "(t)hese findings come as no surprise to us who for a long time have been aware that alterations in regional lymphatic flow may produce dysregulation in skin immune function and consequent oncogenesis. In fact, since 2002, our team has held the view that lymphedematous areas are immunologically vulnerable sites for the development of neoplasms as well as infections and immune-mediated diseases. In recent years, increasing evidence has confirmed this assumption."
  • 2018 How Bras Cause Lymph Stasis and Breast Cancer Academic.edu  "Recent studies are showing that lymph stasis causes cancer by reducing immune function. This article draws on these studies to further explain how constriction from tight bras results in lymphatic impairment in the breasts and an increased incidence of breast cancer."