Bra or No Bra…That is the Question

I recently discovered that wearing bras may be hazardous to the health of women. Therefore, I began to do a little bit of digging. Granted everything does not apply to everyone. However, I want to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. My paternal grandmother had breast cancer. As of right now, she was the only person biologically related to me that I know of that developed cancer.

I live in a country that poisons it’s people for fun and that’s just what it is! I feel like I have to do my best to counteract and stay knowledgeable. There are some studies that say there is a link between breast cancer and some that say there it NOT. The Susan G. Komen site states that there is not any scientific links between breast cancer and any type of bras. Several studies suggest that wearing underwire bras, push-up bras, and tight fitting bras have a link in women developing breast cancer.  In 1995 Singer and Grismaijer published a book titled, Dressed to Kill which was a follow up to a 1991 Harvard study. The 1991 study claimed that women who wear underwire bras for more than 12 hours a day are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer. To my knowledge this was the only study that has explored underwire specifically. This is what some use to deny the claim….stating that there is not enough evidence and there was only one study looking at this. Prof Nicholas Othieno-Abinya is a researcher and senior cancer expert of the University of Nairobi, he claims that women who wear bras all the time have an increased risk for breast cancer.

Some researchers suggest that wearing bras that are tight or have underwire can create a type of blockage in the lymph nodes. There are toxins that build up in the breast. When the breasts can move freely the toxins can properly drain from the lymph nodes. Bras that are too tight cause inadequate lymph circulation.

After exploring this….I am seriously contemplating wearing bras less. I believe that whatever is most natural is probably the best. I do understand that some women have larger breast and that it may be more difficult for them to try this.

Over the last couple of years I have admired women who do not wear bras. It seems like I am noticing more and more women stray away from bras little by little. This may simply be a result of trends or the latest fashions. Whatever the case I like….

I notice women such as Rhianna, Corrine Bailey Rae, and Keke Palmer just to name a few, that chose not to wear bras sometimes. Corrine Bailey Rae can be seen wearing lose, fluttery, free flowing blouses often. These tops are not tight fitting, which may help prevent some of the stares you may get when choosing not to wear a bra. Everyone won’t understand or agree with that type of choice. Nikisha Brunson, co-creater of Urban Bush Babes and apothecary line,”Folie” owner was criticized recently for informing women of the dangers of bras on her vlog. The video got millions of views.

I have been wearing them less and have gotten a few odd looks…but I’m comfortable so I don’t care. Plus I was in my own home. I do understand further research is needed, but I think that it’s a possibility and it makes sense that it could be harmful!!!

Research that supports correlation between bras and breast cancer

  • 1991 Harvard study (CC Hsieh, D Trichopoulos (1991). Breast size, handedness and breast cancer risk. European Journal of Cancer and Clinical Oncology 27(2):131-135.). This study found that, “Premenopausal women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra users…”
  • 1991-93 U.S. Bra and Breast Cancer Study by Singer and Grismaijer, published in Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras (Avery/Penguin Putnam, 1995; ISCD Press, 2005). Found that bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men. 24/7 bra wearing increases incidence over 100 times that of a bra-free woman.
  • Singer and Grismaijer did a follow-up study in Fiji, published in Get It Off! (ISCD Press, 2000). Found 24 case histories of breast cancer in a culture where half the women are bra-free. The women getting breast cancer were all wearing bras. Given women with the same genetics and diet and living in the same village, the ones getting breast disease were the ones wearing bras for work.
  • A 2009 Chinese study (Zhang AQ, Xia JH, Wang Q, Li WP, Xu J, Chen ZY, Yang JM (2009). [Risk factors of breast cancer in women in Guangdong and the countermeasures]. In Chinese. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Jul;29(7):1451-3.) found that NOT sleeping in a bra was protective against breast cancer, lowering the risk 60%.


People are calling out this ‘wellness influencer’ for claiming that wearing a bra causes breast cancer


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Good piece! I personally believe that bras are a danger to the health of women. But this is a million dollar industry – so companies like Victoria Secret will pay “scientists” to do “research” which finds that their products have no negative impacts on health.

    One way of coming at this is through the lens of evolutionary psychology (the work of David Buss). Men are attracted to women who are fertile. An indication of fertility are perky breasts. But as women get older, their breasts look less and less perky. The bra is a way for older women to make their breasts look as perky as younger women, thus being able to compete for the attention of male partners (I do not subscribe wholeheartedly to this theory, but it is one way of looking at it).

    Sometimes I worry that breast cancer awareness campaigns are quickly sexualized. For example, last year there was a “free the nipple” campaign on Twitter designed to raise awareness around breast cancer. The purpose was to have women upload pictures of their breasts, presumably through their shirts, as a form of liberation and consciousness. But it quickly turned into a spectacle of perverts rating the women.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed bro!! I believe that is what is happening with the studies that are contrary to bras being harmful. Also, you brought up the perky breast effect….I hadn’t thought about that much. However, that makes sense….especially when we are in our natural essence. I just don’t trust what they put out as safe nine times out of ten. We have to examine what we use and consume etc. As for the awareness campaign, I feel like I heard about that at some point. It’s disgusting to think it turned into some perverted s*** smh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Idle Muser says:

    An informative article.


  3. Tareau Barron says:

    This was insight that I never even thought about. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea….good to hear. Thanks for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tareau Barron says:

        Always it’s good food for thought as always

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post and hypotheses. I had a quick look at the publications (simply intrigued to see the impact that the journals have) and the first study at least seems somewhat credible. It would be interesting to see if anyone takes up more research in this area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Yea, I’m wondering the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll search my sources and get back to you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sydney Singer and Soma Grismaijer were neither legitimate cancer researchers or medical doctors.

        Singer and Grismaijer’s “study” was not reviewed by medical experts and published in a respected journal, as is the norm for bona fide scientific discoveries. According to a version of their story, they interviewed more than 4,000 American women and discovered that women who don’t wear bras have a “1 in 168 chance” of developing breast cancer, as opposed to a “3 in 4 chance for those who wear a bra 24 hours a day”.

        Their explanation is that underwired bras block circulation of lymphatic fluid, causing breasts to swell with “toxins”. It is unlikely, though, that that lymph fluid would be trapped by an underwire, because it doesn’t flow in that direction, and a properly fitting bra prevents breast ligaments from overstretching. Scientists have also criticised Dressed to Kill for not taking into account known risk factors for breast cancer, most notably obesity, which increases the likelihood a woman will wear a bra for longer periods.

        A comprehensive 2014 study by the globally respected Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle found that no aspect of bra-wearing was associated with breast cancer risk, and Breast Cancer Now, Cancer Research UK, the American Cancer Society, and the US National Institutes of Health are just a few of the organisations that have stressed the lack of evidence that wearing bras increases cancer risk.

        American obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Jennifer Gunter has described this myth as “cruel”, saying that it scares women and could cause women with a breast cancer diagnosis to blame themselves for wearing a bra.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for sharing. I also came across some of this information also. I’m aware Singer and Grismaijer are medical anthropologists. I guess I’m also biased because I believe it’s a lot of cover ups in the medical research world. I also believe in holistic approaches. However, I definitely think more research is needed to be explored. I do also think if bras were a risk factor it could effect businesses and money, which could be a reason to keep it under wraps.


  5. This is a huge topic, so here are some things to ponder:
    1. braless is natural, like nudity
    2.bras weaken the pectoral muscle, not strengthen them
    3. bras are only a recent invention (about 1904) in Western society
    4. breasts are sexualized in Western society moreso than in any other
    5. bras MAY precipitate cancer, but the research is inconclusive, so why err on the side of risk
    6. bralessness repeated by enough women in enough settings, over time, will probably ‘normalize’ the experience. Some gains were made in the 1920s and the 1960s, but it’s the media that continues to sexualize breasts, and conversely send outs taboos against bralessness. Women are in control of this dilemma, not men
    7. any part of the body can be sexualized in private
    8. the non-natural ideology of body shame is a cultural invention, not found in 95% of human history
    9. women with large breasts should have the right to be comfortable, and average to small-breasted women should have the right to go braless – without there being discrimination in either case
    10. body acceptance is the next human frontier to conquer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate the great points you’ve shed light on here.


    2. I will definitely look into these! I agree that we have to make the change ourselves and normalize this.


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