The Mammogram Scam
by Sydney Ross Singer, Medical
Director, Institute for the Study of Culturogenic
bout 20 years ago, when I was in medical school, I
remember reading about the bold experiment our
culture was about to undertake to deal with the
rising tide of breast cancer. Without having any
knowledge as to the cause of this disease, which
would allow true breast cancer prevention, it was
reasoned that the best alternative to prevention was early detection and treatment. Towards this end, a
massive mammogram experiment began.
I paid little attention to this at the time. Breast
cancer was not a personal issue for me, and the
theory that early detection and treatment was the
best option seemed reasonable. In the absence of
knowing the cause of a disease, all you can do is
hope you don't get it, and look for early signs to
attack the problem before it is too late.
When my wife discovered a lump in her
breast, the issue took on a new meaning. She was
pregnant at the time, and we were reluctant to go
through the radiation of a mammogram. We
were also wary of the next steps in the process.
Once a suspicious lump is discovered,
there will be a biopsy. A biopsy can spread cancer,
since tumors grow within a capsule that
contains the malignant cells. Piercing the capsule
to get a tissue sample with a biopsy, even using only a needle, can
spread the cancer cells throughout the
breast and the rest of the body. So a biopsy could
make things worse. And then there are surgery,
radiation and chemotherapy, none of which were
acceptable to us.
nagged at us most was the big question of WHY?
Why did this lump develop?
cause of the problem, how could we effectively cure
it or prevent it from happening again?
The medical industry offered no answers to the question of WHY. The
cause of breast cancer, they said, has something to do with
genetics, and lifestyle, although they admit they cannot explain the
cause for over 70% of all breast cancer cases. Without knowing more,
they said, all you can do is look for the tumor and treat it as soon
as possible. Getting regular mammograms, they insisted, was the best
a woman can do.
Of course, you cannot prevent a disease by looking for it. Once
you find it, you've got it. Early detection means you have cancer.
This is not prevention, despite claims made in the propaganda
campaign to get women to comply with mammogram guidelines.
It is not usually mentioned in that propaganda that mammograms
use potentially dangerous x-rays, which are known to cause cancer.
Exposure to radiation is also cumulative, which means the chances of
these x-rays causing cellular mutation increases with each new
exposure. And recent research has shown that false positives have
resulted in unnecessary surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, not to
mention the psychological trauma to women and their families
resulting from a false cancer diagnosis and treatment.
There are also false negatives. Radiologists have to interpret
the mammogram, and they make mistakes. Some may not see a mass,
giving the woman a false sense of security.
Surely, if a woman has cancer in her breasts, it is best to
detect and treat it early. That would be true for all cancers in all
parts of the body. But does this justify a massive program to get
women to routinely submit to x-rays as a screening procedure for
disease? Would it make sense, for example, for men to routinely get
their testes irradiated with x-rays to look for a tumor? Should we
all get annual brain x-rays to scan for tumors? Some people may be
saved by this. But most people will be harmed, not only by the
x-rays themselves, but also by going through unnecessary treatment
caused by false positive results.
Clearly, it is best to know the cause of a disease instead of
looking for its early signs for early treatment. However, once a
disease detection and treatment industry develops around a disease,
as it has for breast cancer, there becomes an impediment to
discovering the cause, since this could undermine that industry. I
discovered first hand that this is exactly what has happened with
mammograms and breast cancer.
You see, the cause of breast cancer is really not a mystery,
except to those who rely on the cancer treatment industry for their
information. According to research my wife and I conducted, most
breast cancer is caused by the excessive wearing of tight bras. This
should not be a surprise to anyone. If you constrict any part of the
body, it will impair circulation and cause tissue degeneration. Bras
are tight by design. Pumped up cleavage and other breast shaping is
achieved by constant pressure being applied to the soft breast
tissue. This impairs the flow of the lymphatic system, causing fluid
and toxins to accumulate within the breast tissue, which could lead
to pain, tenderness, cysts, fibrocystic breast disease, and,
Tight clothing has been implicated in other diseases. Corsets
killed women for centuries by constriction and compression. Foot
binding in China deformed and decayed feet to satisfy men's foot
fetish. Now, women bind their breasts in bras. Is it any wonder that
breast disease is rampant in bra wearing cultures, and virtually
absent in bra-free ones?
What is surprising, and shocking, is that breast cancer
researchers have ignored this effect of wearing bras. You would
think that the first thing to research with regards to breast
disease would be the bra, just as the first thing you would research
with regards to foot disease would be tight shoes. Of course, the
link between smoking and lung cancer, which now seems obvious, was
ignored for over 30 years after the first study showed the
What is most shocking is the suppression of this life saving
information about bras causing breast cancer. Once the bra/cancer
link was publicized in 1995 in the book, Dressed To Kill: The
Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, the only response from the
cancer industry was condemnation and denial. Follow-up research we
conducted in Fiji, published in the book, Get it Off!
Understanding the Cause of Breast Pain, Cysts, and Cancer,
showing that the only women getting breast cancer there were those
wearing bras, was also ignored. A study done in 1991 by Harvard
researchers which showed bra-free women had a much lower incidence
of breast cancer, was also ignored or disparaged. A 2009 China study
that shows wearing a bra to sleep increases cancer rates is also
being ignored. And numerous studies expose other health problems
caused by bras, including breast pain, back pain, neck pain,
numbness and tingling in the arms, skin rashes from chemicals
leeching out of the material, skin depigmentation, and more.
The bra industry, of course, has been trying to call the
bra/cancer link a "myth", and has adopted a perverse campaign to
promote breast cancer research through bra sales and bra art events.
However, they have also announced their finding that most women wear
the wrong size bra, usually too tight a bra, and they are
recommending professional fittings to avoid the health hazards of
constriction. (Of course, there is no such thing as a well fitted
push-up bra, which is constrictive by design.) Numerous bra
manufacturers worldwide have now gone past the denial and are
actively promoting the bra/cancer information to sell newly designed
and patented bras which they allege can avoid the damage to the
lymphatic system caused by other bras.
Most importantly, many women who have heard about the hazards of
bras have voluntarily chosen to go bra-free, and their breast health
improved dramatically within weeks, if not days. Fibrocystic breast
disease should be called "Tight Bra Syndrome". In the U.K., women
are now getting bra fittings at health clinics, since it was shown
that most women seeking breast reduction surgery for breast pain and
cysts are suffering from too tight a bra. Clearly, it is better to
remove the bra than to surgically remove all or part of the breast.
While this discovery of the bra link is good news for women who
wish to prevent breast cancer, it is bad news for the medical
industry that is invested in detecting and treating this disease.
I first ran into this disturbing fact in 1995, when our research
first came out. We were interviewed by Dateline, an NBC television
program. At first, it was going to be an expose of our work, trying
to make fun of the idea that bras, an icon of femininity, could be
linked to cancer. However, the show's producer found a medical
historian who backed up our theory, congratulating us on
resurrecting the role of the lymphatic system impairment as a cause
of cancer, something which had been understood but forgotten over
the decades. You would think this would have helped us, but it ended
up killing the story. According to the producer, Dateline has a
policy to not air any stories that threaten any of the interests of
its parent company, which in the case of NBC is General Electric. As
it happens, GE is a manufacturer of mammography machines.
Could the profits of mammography trump the interest in preventing
this disease? Before you think the question too cynical, consider
Hoping to do another study to test the bra/cancer theory, (since
no other medical research institute, non-profit organization, or
governmental body was interested in doing any studies to either
refute or support our findings), I approached a radiology practice
here in Hawaii, where I live. My hope was to ask a group of
volunteers with fibrocystic breast disease to go bra-free and to use
ultrasounds to document any changes in their size and number of
cysts over time. The head of the practice was impressed with the
bra/lymphatic impairment theory, and was interested in doing a
study. However, after asking his partners for their approval, my
proposed research was rejected. As he explained it, they just
purchased a new mammography machine, which cost a lot of money, and
they were concerned that, if the bra issue was proven correct, women
would just stop wearing bras and get fewer mammograms.
So it seems that if you either manufacture or use mammography
machines, you prefer women coming for mammograms rather than
changing their lifestyles to avoid breast cancer.
The cancer industry has succeeded in making mammography a given
fact of Western culture by censoring, suppressing, and ignoring the
cause of most cases of breast cancer. And now, when the United
States Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of
doctors, has declared the mammogram experiment a failure, women
scream for their mammograms. They have become hooked on detection,
brainwashed by the very industry that profits from their fear and
lack of information, and which, through annual fundraising drives
and awareness programming, keep women coming to irradiate their
breasts to find tumors in the name of prevention.
It all began as a social experiment to promote detection and
early treatment in the absence of knowing the cause. It evolved into
a multi-billion dollar industry that now has to protect itself from
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Sydney Ross Singer is a
medical anthropologist, Director of the Institute for
the Study of Culturogenic Disease, and co-author of the
numerous groundbreaking books exposing the
cultural/lifestyle causes of disease, including the
bestseller, Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast
Cancer and Bras (Avery/Penguin Putnam, 1995: ISCD Press,
2005). He works with his wife and assistant, Soma
Grismaijer, and offers an online do-it-yourself
lifestyle research website,
Ross Singer can be reached at the Institute for the
Study of Culturogenic Disease,
P.O.Box 1880, Pahoa, Hawaii 96778 (808) 935-5563.