Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Medical Reports: Banish the bra
Once considered a necessary undergarment, bras today lend more than just support. They have become a fashion statement, but some medical experts say the bra you wear every day could be bad for your health. Tonight the possible link between bras and breast cancer.
WSVN -- No longer just hidden under shirts, Victoria's Secret brought the bra out into the open, a real fashion statement. But could a woman's bra actually be dangerous to her health?
Sydney Ross Singer, Medical Anthropologist: "Our research has shown that the bras issue, we believe, is the leading cause of breast cancer."
Sydney Ross Singer wrote a book about what he believes is a link between breast cancer and bras.
Sydney Ross Singer: "In fact, to look at breast disease and ignore bras is like looking at foot disease and ignoring tight shoes."
Singer's center conducted a study involving 5,000 American women, half had breast cancer.
They looked at past behavior: how tight the bras were and how long the women wore them.
Here's what they found:
Women who wore a bra for 24 hours a day, had a three out of four chance of developing breast cancer. If a bra is worn 12 hours a day, there was a one in seven risk, and women who didn't wear a bra, had about the same rate of developing breast cancer as a man.
Sydney Ross Singer: "So what's happening with the bra is that women are preventing the proper flushing of fluid and toxins out of their breasts."
Singer claims a bra is too constricting, interfering with the body's lymphatic system. This causes toxins to build up, eventually causing cancer.
Sydney Ross Singer: "If you get rid of the bra, your breasts will finally be able to flush out the fluid."
But mainstream medical doctors dismiss the study.
Dr. Ermilo Barrera: "There's no evidence in any of the world research data that I'm aware of that supports the fact that breast cancer risk is increased by wearing a bra or a bra that's too tight."
Dr. Ermilo Barrera of the American Cancer Society says women should get mammograms and reduce risk factors, not worry about their bras.
Dr. Ermilo Barrera: "Watch their weight, exercise, drink only in moderation and don't smoke."
Dr. Atif Hussein, medical director at the Memorial Cancer Institute, calls the bra study interesting, but...
Dr. Atif Hussein: "It really is hard for me to tell you wearing the bra in itself was the contributing factor."
He says it's not the bra but the risk factors of the women who wear them that is the deciding factor.
Dr. Atif Hussein: "Women who, maybe, are overweight, they tend to wear bras, therefore I would say the factors that contributed to those women wearing the bra contributed to their high risk rather than the bra itself."
But Dr. Hussein says the issue should be studied more.
Sydney Ross Singer: "There's absolutely nothing good about bras... It's completely a fashion accessory."
But despite criticism from the medical community, Singer is sticking to his mission, encouraging women to ditch their bras for better health.
Sydney Ross Singer: "We live in a culture where women feel insecure with a natural bust line, but if the price of fashion is disease, then you have to decide whether you want to participate in that or not."
Singer is now studying women who go bra-free to find out if they have lower rates of breast cancer.
Sydney Ross Singer
Director, Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease
Tel: (808) 935-5563
Dr. Atif Hussein
Medical Director, Memorial Cancer Institute
1150 N. 35th Avenue, Suite #170
Hollywood, FL 33021
Tel: (954) 986-6363