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Myth: Wearing underwire bras increases your risk of breast cancer.

By Rethink Breast Cancer September 14 2017

No. There has been no causal link found that ties breast cancer to the use of underwire bras – or any bra!


No. There has been no causal link found that ties breast cancer to the use of underwire bras – or any bra!

This myth goes way back. It first appeared in a 1995 book called “Dressed to Kill,” which claimed that women who wore bras for 12 hours or more a day had a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who didn’t because the bras allowed toxins to build up in their breasts. Dr. Susan Love, argues that myths like this help us to feel in control over areas that are uncertain in our lives. If we convince ourselves that bras cause cancer, then it gives us something to blame and something to avoid.

It’s important that we are doing what we can to reduce our risk of breast cancer, but it’s also important to keep complicated information and issues from being misinterpreted and spread as frightening rumours. There is no scientific evidence to show that wearing underwire bras cause cancer. A 2014 study of postmenopausal women’s lifetime bra wearing patterns proves this. 

However, some research shows that there is a non-causal link between underwire bras and breast cancer. Women who are overweight are more likely to wear underwire bras and be larger breasted than women who are at a healthy weight. And we know that being overweight and sedentary are factors that increase one’s risk of breast cancer.