Hutchinson Study - Singer

The Big Bra Bailout:
Sloppy Study Shows Conflict of Interest

The National Cancer Institute has funded a study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to look into the bra-cancer link in order to refute research showing this link is responsible for a majority of breast cancer cases.

The research did not include bra-free women or women under 55. The authors ignored a 2008 China study, a 2011 Venezuela study, and a 2014 Scottish study all showing a significant bra-cancer connection. Instead, it mentioned the results of a 1991 Harvard study, which found over 100% higher breast cancer rates in younger women who wore bras compared to bra-free women, but called that study “flawed”.

Instead of studying younger women, this study focused on only women over 55, and only women who wore bras.

They found that the time a bra was worn daily did not differ between the cancer group and non-cancer group. They concluded that women should be “reassured” that bras are not causing breast cancer.

Actually, this study supports the bra-cancer link, since all the women in the cancer group were lifetime bra wearers. In addition, the study is useless since none of the women were bra-free, so it lacks a proper control for examining bra wearing impacts. No bra-free baseline. They also did not look at bra tightness, which is a major factor in the bra-cancer link, which is about tight bras causing lymphatic constriction.

What this Study Shows

All this study really shows is that some women who have worn bras for 40 years or longer will get breast cancer and some will not. We already knew that. You can say the same thing about smokers and lung cancer.

Amazingly, this limited and flawed research was announced in newspapers around the world, declaring that bras are safe, and that the issue has now been settled. Not one of the reporters bothered to contact me for comment, despite referring to me and my research in their stories.

It’s clear that this was not just a poorly designed study. This was a public relations hatchet job trying to silence the truth about the bra-cancer link.

There is also evidence of a hidden agenda. The study said there were no reported conflicts of interest, but did not mention that The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center receives money annually from a “Bra Dash” fundraiser, where pink bras are worn on the outside of clothing during a 5K race to raise breast cancer research funds

It would be very ironic to criticize bras for causing cancer when they are used to raise funds for cancer research.

The fact that this poorly designed study without proper controls is used to conclude that there is no bra-cancer link also reveals a bias. The authors should have called for more research.

And Here is Another Problem

Can we expect honest, reliable research when there is so much money and reputation at stake? The lingerie and cancer treatment industries are very powerful, making multi-billions of dollars annually.

And since cancer “experts” at the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, and National Cancer Institute have been denying for years that there is any bra-cancer link, how can a study come out proving them wrong? What would be the reaction of the public to news that 20 years of cancer industry denial of a link between bras and breast cancer has been wrong, resulting in hundreds of thousands of lives needlessly lost?

They need to stick to their lie.

How Do You Perpetuate a Lie?

Of course, as the bra-cancer link gains increasing public awareness, there are bound to be studies trying to refute it. There are also studies that try to refute the cigarette-cancer link. So I take all this as a good sign of progress, since it brings the topic into mainstream consciousness, and these attempts at denial are expected.

In a way, this new study and the media’s swift acceptance of it was like a bail-out. Facing growing awareness of the bra-cancer link and increasing numbers of women ditching their bras, the government stepped in with a grant for a hatchet job of the issue. The media complied by distributing biased, unbalanced announcements of the findings.

It was as though the mainstream culture collectively went into denial, saving the bra and all it culturally represents, reaffirming its belief in the cancer industry, and helping the lingerie industry.

The alternative would be a transformation of women’s dress behavior and body image and health, class action lawsuits against the lingerie industry, and severe ridicule and possible malfeasance suits against the cancer industry. It would bankrupt our cultural trust in industry, fashion, and medicine.

It seems Big B and Big C are too big to fail.

 Studies that Support the Bra/Cancer Link

  1. 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…”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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%.
  5. 2011 a study was published, in Spanish, confirming that bras are causing breast disease and cancer. http://www.portalesmedicos.com/publicaciones/articles/3691/1/Patologias-mamarias-generadas-por-el-uso-sostenido-y-seleccion-incorrecta-del-brassier-en-pacientes-que-acuden-a-la-consulta-de-mastologia- It found that underwired and push-up bras are the most harmful, but any bra that leaves red marks or indentations may cause disease.
  6. A 2014 Scottish study looking in the causes of increased upper outer quadrant breast cancer concluded that tight bras are a major contributing factor.  http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/bras-linked-to-rise-in-breast-cancer-1-3422526
  7. A 2014 study out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that all the women in their bra and breast cancer study were lifetime bra wearers, confirming the bra-cancer link.

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" Second Edition (2018,Square One Publishers Inc., Garden City Park, NY 11040). He works with his wife and assistant, Soma Grismaijer. Visit their websites BrasAndBreastCancer.org and BraFreeStudy.org.

Sydney Ross Singer can be reached at the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease,
P.O.Box 1880, Pahoa, Hawaii 96778  (808) 935-5563.