Wearing a Bra Not Linked to Breast Cancer

Breast cancer patient bra use patterns did not support supposed link to developing common breast cancers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Some believe breast cancer is more common in developed countries because more women wear bras. But new research may debunk that idea.

Wearing a bra did not lead to breast cancer, according to Seattle researchers who interviewed breast cancer patients about bra use in a recent study.

"Get screened for breast cancer regularly."

Lu Chen, MPH, and colleagues tested the concern that breast cancer may be more common in women who wear bras.

“Our study found no evidence that wearing a bra increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer,” Chen said. “The risk was similar no matter how many hours per day women wore a bra, whether they wore a bra with an underwire, or at what age they first began wearing a bra.”

With the help of colleagues, Chen, a researcher in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recruited 1,044 female breast cancer patients for the study.

Of those, 454 had invasive ductal carcinoma and 590 had invasive lobular carcinoma — the two most common types of breast cancer. All were postmenopausal and between the ages of 55 and 74.

Breast cancer screenings include regular mammograms, which are X-ray images used to detect cancer. Treatments include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgical removal of one or both breasts, called a mastectomy.

The study authors interviewed the patients to find out lifetime patterns of bra use. They found no associations between wearing a bra and breast cancer.

“The findings provided reassurance to women that wearing a bra does not appear to increase the risk for the most common histologic types of postmenopausal breast cancer,” the study authors wrote.

The study was published online Sept. 5 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The National Cancer Institute funded the study. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
September 5, 2014
Last Updated:
September 6, 2014