Myth: Using antiperspirant deodorant causes breast cancer.
No. There has been no causal, scientific link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer.
While it’s important that we all exercise caution around exposure to toxins and known carcinogens in our environment it’s also important that we keep complicated information/issues from being misinterpreted and spread as frightening rumours.
A few studies have been published and broadcasted in the media where researchers argued that antiperspirant use is linked to breast cancer. The bases of their arguments have been:
Most breast cancers occur in the upper outer part of the breast (close to the armpit)
Antiperspirants stop the body from sweating, which traps toxins
Aluminum and parabens (a substance in deodorant that acts like estrogen) leak into the skin, causing cell mutation
Many of these studies were too small and lacked some significant information. Most breast cancer do occur in the upper outer part of the breast, but this is because that portion of the breast has the most tissue – automatically, making it a more likely site for cancer (regardless of deodorant use). Additionally, the Canadian Cancer Society states that the purpose of sweating is not so much to release toxins from the body, but to cool the body off (most toxins are released by the kidneys via urine or the liver). While antiperspirants are designed to reduce sweating, they cannot block 100% of sweat from leaving the body.
As far as parabens and aluminum are concerned, researchers (like Guy Eslick from the cancer epidemiology department at The University of Sydney) argue that in order for parabens or aluminum to initiate a cancerous mutation, there would need to be much higher amounts absorbed than what’s currently in deodorant products. While aluminum has been show to activate some types of breast cancer cells, this has only occurred in a petri dish – not the human body. The human body already contains aluminum in it and while it can absorb more through the skin, it can’t absorb that much.
For more information on deodorant use and breast cancer, click HERE.