Can Wearing a Bra Cause Breast Cancer?

 

from here

from here

Like most of you ladies, I wear a bra every day, for every occasion. T-shirt bra, sports bra, trainer bra- we’ve worn them all! As a woman, breast health is extremely important, and nearly all of us have been affected by breast cancer in some way. In my situation, my grandmother has had breast cancer twice, and my Aunts have had breast tumors removed.

I wrote my last blog about how our deodorant could possibly be causing breast cancer, and while that could potentially be a real threat to our breasts, I am confident that we can rest assured knowing that if anything, we are safe from our bras.

Although nearly every American women wears a bra and is fine, there are always rumors of a correlation between breast cancer and wearing a bra. Even though this rumor is ever popular on the internet, exemplified by All Women’s Health, there is absolutely no proof that there is a correlation between wearing a bra and breast cancer. When it comes to breast cancer and our bras,  according to  Breast Cancer.org  it is theorized that bras with underwire (the average bra) blocks the drainage of lymph fluids from the breasts, trapping the fluids in the breast. Theoretically, this blockage leads to the development of breast cancer.

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from here

Bra Wearing Not Associated with Breast Cancer Risk: A Population-Based Case–Control Stud is the only study conducted on this topic because of the conclusiveness of the study. According to the study, there is barely any credible scientific studies besides this one. The goal of the study was to analyze the relationship between cancer risk and wearing a bra. The null hypothesis was that wearing a bra does not cause breast cancer, and the alternative hypothesis is that wearing a bra does cause cancer.

The participants of the study were questioned on nearly every aspects of their bra-wearing habits, including size, brand, frequency of use, material, how many hours a day the bra was worn, if the bra had underwire, etc. With an impressively large p-value, the scientists failed to reject the null hypothesis. Thankfully for us, this experiment concluded that it was extremely unlikely that wearing a bra was linked to breast cancer. It was realized that there was only a minuscule difference between the breast health of women that wore bras, and women that did not wear bras.

So good news- we can keep wearing our bras. And even better news- this study escaped the file drawer!

from here

from here

In class, Andrew has been bringing up what we call “the file drawer problem”. The file drawer problem is a type of publication bias, and has impacted the scientific community negatively. The file drawer problem is an issue in the sense that it embodies the concept of selective publication. Robert Rosenthal coined the term in 1979, and it is used to describe a situation where scientists will not publish their papers if they find negative, or “boring” results. Not every experiment will be able to reject the null hypothesis, but it is extremely important that experiments that don’t make waves still be published. For example, we now know that wearing our bras is fine, but, if this study had never been published, then this health rumor would still just be a rumor, and would not be able to be proven false with the hard evidence provided in this study. The file drawer problem is a real issue in the scientific community because it is ultimately just a loss of information that could be referenced to or used in in other various observations. Just because we get a result we don’t like doesn’t mean that that result isn’t important!

from here

from here

 

1 thought on “Can Wearing a Bra Cause Breast Cancer?

  1. Marissa Dorros

    I like how you explained the theoretical mechanism for why bras might cause cancer, and I’m glad that the results concluded that wearing a bra is safe. However, contrary to what you stated, I think the null hypothesis for this study would be that wearing a bra does not cause cancer, and the alternative hypothesis is that wearing a bra does cause breast cancer. This is because the null hypothesis usually states that nothing is happening in the study except chance. In this case, nothing is going on when wearing a bra has no effect. This means that by publishing their results, the researchers supported the null hypothesis.

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