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Can wearing an underwire bra cause breast cancer? A gynaecologist busts the myth

Updated on:16 September 2021, 16:25pm IST
Breast cancer is widely prevalent and is caused due to various risk factors. However, there is a myth that wearing an underwire bra can lead to breast cancer.
Grace Bains
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An expert shares insights on whether there is any link between wearing an underwire bra and breast cancer. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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So many women across the world battle the menace of breast cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) observed that there were 7.8 million women alive, who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years. This makes this disease, the world’s most prevalent cancer. While there are various factors associated with breast cancer, there is a growing trend of linking underwire bras with breast cancer.

A number of women wear an underwire bra, for reasons ranging from the support and upliftment it provides to its aesthetic advantages. However, there is a myth that wearing this particular type of bra can cause breast cancer.

To better understand the particulars of whether any link exists between wearing an underwire bra and prevalence of breast cancer, we spoke to Dr Sunita Varma, Director, Obs and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.

Breast cancer
Do you also think that breast cancer is linked to underwire bra Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Can wearing an underwire bra cause breast cancer?

According to Dr Varma, it does not cause breast cancer. She adds that there is a myth that it blocks the lymphatic flow and blood flow, due to its tight fitting, leading to breast cancer. And the expert also pointed out that this myth has been disproved.

She explained how there are various risk factors associated with breast cancer, such as obesity, alcohol consumption, late stage pregnancy, family history, and genetic disposition.

What is breast cancer?

It is a cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. It could develop in the lining cells of the ducts or lobules, in the glandular tissue of the breast. It is not a transmissible or infectious type of cancer. Unfortunately, about half of breast cancers develop in women above the age of forty, without showing any visible signs or symptoms.

However, certain factors increase the risk profile of women developing breast cancer, which includes history of radiation exposure, reproductive history, age, and tobacco consumption.

breast cancer
Breast cancer is not linked to wearing underwire bra. Image caption: Shutterstock
Symptoms and diagnosis

The symptoms may include:

-A lump in the breast
-Change in breast size
-Pain in the breast of nipples
-Colour or shape of the breast and nipples
-Peeling or flaking of the area surrounding the nipple (areola)

These symptoms will not necessarily turn out to be an indication of breast cancer, as they can also be signs of non-cancerous conditions such as an infection or a cyst.

However, it is still prudent to consult a doctor regarding any symptoms or changes experienced by you.

While there are various pathological and physical tests available to diagnose breast cancer, a breast lump self-examination should also be done periodically. So ladies, if you notice any of the symptoms listed above, or are over forty years old, then do consider visiting a doctor to rule out any risk of breast cancer. As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, an early diagnosis can save a lot of hardship.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.