FantaysBra Chgo 2010 12 10 photoby Bielawski 21 Can Bras Cause Breast Cancer?

The answer is finally here! For those of you who have worried that wearing bras may be increasing your risk for breast cancer, the time has come for you to breathe a sigh of relief, because no, bras do not cause cancer. Whew! Now that you can mark that irrational fear off your bucket list of potential health concerns, maybe you can invest less time in worrying about getting cancer and more time enjoying not having cancer (yet). Get out, go to the mall, try on some fancy bras! Unless you hate bras, in which case, all is still well, because not wearing a bra doesn’t affect your chances of breast cancer either. So celebrate the proof in this population-based case-control pudding with whatever level of breast support you prefer.

A study conducted in the Seattle area compared 454 cases of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and 590 cases of invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) diagnosed between 2000 and 2004, with an additional 469 cancer-free women as the control group. Participants ranged in age from 55 to 74. Information about bra-wearing habits gathered during in-person interviews was analyzed by researchers who determined that there was no correlation between bras and increased breast cancer risks among postmenopausal women. According to the study findings, “No aspect of bra wearing, including bra cup size, recency, average number of hours/day worn, wearing a bra with an underwire, or age first began regularly wearing a bra, was associated with risks of either IDC or ILC.”

Women are now free to wear three bras at once, or none at all, while equally sharing the risks, or lack of risks, of breast cancer. There’s no use in wasting time on what-ifs like cancer. Enough studies have been done to show that there’s actually very little hard evidence pointing toward the whys and hows of who among us lucks out in the unfortunate lottery of life-threatening illness. I think we can all agree that life is best spent enjoying the moments we can rather than fretting over things that haven’t even happened yet, and could very well never happen at all. Living in fear and paranoia over the cells in your breasts plotting against you for arbitrary undergarment choices sounds like no fun at all, and as female pop icon Cyndi Lauper once prophesied, “Girls just want to have fun/ That’s all they really want/ Some fun.” So until the phone rings in the middle of the night and your doctor says, “you’re nearing the end of your life,” just live like you’re still number one (on the list of people insisting on fun).

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