Underwire Bra, Plastic Surgery, Depression: Breast Cancer Risks And Myths

The claims that underwire bras compress the lymphatic system of the breast, causing toxins to accumulate have been widely debunked as unscientific, says doctor.

New Delhi: While attempts are being made to spread awareness around breast cancer, there are many myths that surround the disease. Some of them being depression, wearing an underwire bra and getting a plastic surgery done.

Medical expert group came together last week to debunk these myths. Doctors blamed the stressful and erratic lifestyle of women, smoking, pollution and mothers not nursing the babies adequately as the prime reasons that put women at higher risk of the disease.

On internet and various WhatsApp group, unsubstantiated information on causes of breast cancer is being spread, but they are mostly myths, Dr Seema Sud, Consultant in the Department of CT Scan and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said.

“A popular one is that wearing of an underwire bra increases the risk of the disease. But claims that such bras compress the lymphatic system of the breast, causing toxins to accumulate, and lead to breast cancer have been widely debunked as unscientific,” Dr Sud was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

She further said that some people also think that depression or plastic surgery for breasts can increase the risk, but they are just myths and people just need to be cautious.

Women, old or young, should not get swayed by such myths, she said.

During a breast cancer awareness programme held last week, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said that her ministry may plan campaign film with a celebrity.

Ms Gandhi said that early detection by various techniques – self-examination, healthy lifestyle, avoiding alcohol and smoking can help prevent breast cancer.

“Early detection by various techniques including self-examination, healthy lifestyle and avoiding alcohol and smoking can go a long way in prevention of breast cancer,” she said.

Ms Gandhi also said that mammography scares women and stigma attached to cancer make them hesitant to go for early screening.

Every year, over one lakh new incidences of breast cancer are occurring in India. Doctors say that the situation has already reached an alarming level and we have changing lifestyle and work regimen to blame for the same.

According to Dr Shyam Aggarwal, women living in the big cities – housewives and working, are more susceptible to getting breast cancer. Routine smoking and alcohol consumption, pollution, anxiety and erratic lifestyle make them prone to the disease.

“Late marriage, junk and packaged food consumption and mothers not breastfeeding babies enough are also among the factors contributing to them getting afflicted by this cancer,” Dr Aggarwal who is a senior consultant in medical oncology at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital was quoted as saying to news agency Press Trust of India.

In India, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer with 1.5 lakh new cases being diagnosed every year and approximately 75,000 deaths per year, said Madhavi Chandra, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiology at the hospital.

Surgical Oncologist at the hospital, Rakesh Koul said, while sedentary job regime may not directly affect a person but it may cause obesity and that is a contributing factor, so “indirectly it does increase the risk”.

According to the doctors, women aged 30-35 and above are generally more susceptible to breast cancer, but these days, cases of women as young as 18 and as old as 75-80 are also being diagnosed.

(With Inputs From PTI)


  1. Wrong! I am a breast cancer researcher and author. Numerous studies show that wearing tight bras for long hours daily is a leading cause of breast cancer. It also causes breast pain and cysts. Bra-free women have about the same risk of breast cancer as men, while the tighter and longer the bra is worn the higher the risk rises, to over 100 times higher for a 24/7 bra user compared to bra-free. For more, including references, see my website BrasAndBreastCancer.org.


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