A link between breast cancer,
fibrocystic breast disease & bras?


Brief history of bras

Bra has basically developed from the corset, in an attempt to manufacture a more comfortable underwear piece.  The purpose of corset was to shape a woman's body the way the fashion dictated, and the small waist was a fetish for men at those times.  Before the time of corset there is only a very little evidence of any garments that could be considered bras.

Even today bra is not used worldwide.  Its history is strictly linked to fashions and to the idea that women have to dress in a certain way in order to please men's eyes.  Bras don't help support your breasts - in fact, they might make your breasts sag more.  The only purpose of bras is to emphasize the sexual nature of breasts.

It is no wonder feminists symbolically threw bras to trash in the 60s.  Even today, going braless is sometimes connected with feminism.  Still, putting feminism aside, there are some health reasons to consider not wearing bras.... Read on!




Normal breasts of a normal woman...

So what if they sag?

See more normal


In Singers' study,
3 out of 4 women
who wore their bras
24 hours per day
breast cancer.















How bras are linked to breast cancer

Many allopathic medicine advocates say that bras causing breast cancer is just a myth.  It is true that bras do not cause breast per se, but they are linked to its formation since they can prevent your body from excreting dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.  The main reason why bras are bad for breast health is because they restrict the lymph flow in your breasts.  There are numerous lymph pathways and lymph nodes in the armpits, under the breasts, and in between the breasts.  Normally the lymph fluid washes out waste materials and other toxins away from the breasts, but bras (and especially push-up bras) inhibit this action, so toxins can start to accumulate in the breast, and that can help cancer to develop.  In other words, bras inhibit the way our bodies normally cleanse themselves and get rid of cancer cells and toxins like PCBs, DDT, dioxin, benzene and other carsinogenic chemicals that cling to the body's fatty tissues like breast.  In fact, if you find a lump in your breast, it may very well be filled with lymph fluid that was not able to move away from the breast tissue.

Bra wearing may also be connected to cancer in other ways.  Wearing bras slightly increases the temperature of the breast tissue, and women who wear bras have higher levels of the hormone prolactin.  Both of these may influence breast cancer formation.

The first comprehensive study on this subject was done by medical researcher Sydney Singer, after his wife Soma Grismaijer discovered a lump on her breast.  She got rid of hers in two months by quitting wearing bra, doing regular breast massage and exercise, drinking only purified water, and taking some herbs and supplemental vitamins and minerals.

Singers noticed that the Maoris of New Zealand integrated into white culture have the same rate of breast cancer, while the marginalized aboriginals of Australia have practically no breast cancer. The same was true for "Westernized" Japanese, Fijians and other bra-converted cultures.

In the early 1990s Singers studied 4,500 women in 5 cities across the U.S. about their habits in purchasing and wearing bras.   Though his study did not take into account other lifestyle factors, the results are too striking to be denied:

  • 3 out of 4 women who wore their bras 24 hours per day developed breast cancer.
  • 1 out of 7 women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed developed breast cancer.
  • 1 out of 152 women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day got breast cancer.
  • 1 out of 168 women who wore bras rarely or never acquired breast cancer.

So the difference between 24 hour wearing and not at all was 125-fold!

The lymphatic system in the breast only develops fully during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so women who wear bras everyday and postpone having children, and those who do not breastfeed, could be at higher risk of breast cancer.








A New Look At Breast Cancer 
By Brian Sanderoff, 
Craig N. Fryer






Singers sent

the survey results

to the heads of most

prestigious cancer

organizations and

institutes of America.

None responded.......


Though studies along these lines are not numerous (probably because there is no money to be gained from asking women to not wear a bra), there are some which confirm the link between bra wearing and breast cancer, and also fibrocystic disease and breast cancer.  In 1991 Hsieh & Trichopoulos studied breast size and left/right handedness as risk factors, and noted in the findings that premenopausal women who do not wear bras had less than half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra wearers. (Breast size, handedness and breast cancer risk. Eur J Cancer. 1991;27(2):131-5.)

In 2000, in a British study women were instructed to go bra-free for three months.  Results:

"...women were interviewed and discussed the life-altering improvements in their breast health, such as being able to now pick up their children or hug their spouse without pain.
A few highlights of the history of research on bras and breast disease by R.L. Reed.

Breast of Canada
A calendar packed with breast health information, excellent resources, breast self examination instructions & photographs of natural everyday women.





Red lines

on the sides

and underneath

the breast mean

the lymph flow

has been

cut off.

"The results of this breast study has given me back my freedom.  I can pick the children up whenever I want to.  I can do anything and the breast pain has now for me gone more and more into the background.  I'm not anxious about my breast lumps because the pain's not there so you don't have it constantly on your mind and worrying about it. I get on with life; I enjoy life more.  I don't have to have a constant pain all the time.Rae Marsh in Bras, the Bare facts, A documentary by channel 4 UK, aired November 2000.

See Brasseries, Breathing and Breast Cancer for other highlights of the history of research on the link between bras and breast disease, scientific references, and quotes from doctors.

David Moth has conducted an experiment where he measured the actual pressure exerted by bras. He says, "The results suggest that the lightest possible bras will still exert pressures in excess of that found within the lymphatic vessels."  You can read more of his experiment at the webpage Experiment to measure the force exerted by a bra on the lymphatic system.

Ladies, next time you take your bra off, look at yourself in the mirror. You might see red lines on the sides and/or underneath your breasts, and marks on your shoulders from the straps.  This is not a good sign, the lymph flow might have been been cut off.  Push-up bras and those with underwire or high side panels have even more constricting effect on the lymphatic vessels.


Even if you are not convinced, give it a try!  Go without bras for couple of weeks and see if you don't feel better.  That experiment won't cost you anything whereas you might save a fortune in medical bills!

"...over her entire life she has never had a visit with her OB-GYN that has not resulted in him saying to her (after an examination) that she has cystic breasts and that further examination is needed. Her last visit, less than a month ago, was the very first time that her doctor said that things were fine with her breasts. She made no changes other than throwing away her bras." Your prescription 4 health articles ban thebra, part 3 

"Nevertheless, I tried the authors' suggestion to try going bra-free and within two days the shooting pains in my left breast that got me in for an emergency mammogram were gone."
From a review of Dressed to Kill at

What reasons do women give for wearing bras? 



Sources and information

A mini history of the corset

A New Look At Breast Cancer 
By Brian Sanderoff, Craig N. Fryer

The Self Study Center  - Singer and Grismaijer website

Fibrocystic Breast Disease Case Histories - women going bra-free

Prevention and Treatment of Fibrocystic Breast Disease 
Case histories of women who found relief from fibrocystic disease by going bra-free.

Breast Massage for better health

Self Care For Your Breasts  Instructions with pictures how to massage your breasts to help the lymphatic flow

Brasseries, Breathing and Breast Cancer
Includes highlights of the history of research on the link between bras and breast disease, scientific references, and quotes from doctors.

Experiment to measure the force exerted by a bra on the lymphatic system by David Moth



Copyright 2002-2009 Anti-Bra. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Information here is not medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, nor to replace the advice you could get from a health professional. If you are in doubt, please see a doctor (or several). So if you're in doubt, and especially if you have some other symptoms, please see a doctor.