A few highlights of the history of research on bras and breast disease:
1. In the 1930s a paper was published making a connection between corsets
and increased breast cancer rates.
2. 1978 An M.D. in California pubished an article in a medical journal
linking bras with elevated breast temperature, and he suggested that
might have a connection with breast cancer. He studied several hundred
women in a medical practice and also observed that the heavier the bra
material, the hotter the breast, and that bra-free women of all sizes
had cooler breasts. (The Lancet, November 4, 1978, P. 1001 Dr. John
Douglass, Department of Internal Medicine, S. Calif. Permanente Med.
Center Los Angeles, California) see also item #8 for more about breast
3. 1991 Researchers at Harvard University publish a medical journal
article on breast cancer risk. As a side issue of their paper, they
mention that the women in their study that did not wear bras had a 60%
lower rate of breast cancer than the women who wore bras.
(Hsieh, C.C. and D. Trichopoulos, D. Eur. J. Cancer 27:131-5, 1991
"Breast size, handedness and breast cancer risk")
4. 1991 Researchers in Japan pubished a study on bras and sagging,
which they proved that a bra can actually increase breast sagging, rather
than the opposite. This effect was most noticeable in larger breasted
women. They compared bras to foot binding in their discussion section.
("Breast Form Changes Resulting From A Certain Brassiere"
Hum. Ergol.(Tokyo) 1990 Jun; 19(1):53-62. Ashizawa K, Sugane A, Gunji
Institute of Human Living Sciences, Otsuma Women's University, Tokyo,
5. 1995 Sydney Singer and Soma Grismaijer of the Institute for the
of Culturogenic Disease published their book, "Dressed to Kill:
Between Breast Cancer and Bras," (Avery Press). Their study included
almost 4600 women, half of whom had breast cancer and half of whom did
not. They found that the more hours per day that a bra is worn, the
higher the rate of breast cancer and that women who do not wear bras
a dramatically reduced rate of breast cancer. Singer and Grismaijer
a website at: http://www.selfstudycenter.org/
6. 1995 through the present. Many women, who had concerns about breast
cancer risk and/or breast pain, quit wearing bras and then found that
their pain and cysts of fibrocystic breast disease was dramatically
decreased or eliminated. Several of these women wrote their own personal
case histories, which appear on the web at:
7. May 1999. A landmark study was published in the prestigious British
medical journal, The Lancet. This study showed that pre-menopausal women
with fibrocystic breast disease have an almost 6-fold higher risk of
future breast cancer. This study firmly refutes the advice of some
doctors who have said that fibrocystic carries no increased risk.
In all, there are now over 30 published medical and scientific research
articles showing a connection between fibrocystic and increased breast
cancer risk. (Lancet 1999 May 22;353(9166):1742-5 "Risk of breast
in women with palpable breast cysts: a prospective study." Edinburgh
Breast Group. Dixon JM, McDonald C, Elton RA, Miller WR
Edinburgh Breast Unit, Western General Hospital, UK.")
8. 2000. Two British breast surgeons conduct clinical trials at two
breast clinics in England and Wales. They study 100 women to see if
brafree (a more positive term the physicians used for braless) could
lessen breast pain. Their study concluded that the majority of
pre-menopausal women found decreased pain during a three-month bra-free
study period. The women were instructed to not wear a bra for three
months, and instead to wear a loose and non-restricting camisole if
desired an alternative undergarment. For comparison, they then returned
to wearing bras for the another three months. For additional study
control, another group of women did the reverse and were bra-wearers
three months, then bra-free for three months. A half-hour documentary
filmed in conjunction with the studies and was shown on nationwide
television in England in November, 2000 on Channel 4 UK. Several of
women were interviewed and discussed the life-altering improvements
their breast health, such as being able to now pick up their children
hug their spouse without pain. (Simon Cawthorne, M.D. surgeon at Frenchay
Hospital, Bristol, England and Prof. Robert Mansel, M.D., Surgery Dept.
Head, University of Wales Medical School, Cardif, Wales.)
Doctors interviewed in the film commented about how breasts in
bras are hotter than bra-free breasts and the possible connection of
breast heating with breast cancer. Prof. Hugh Simpson discussed his
published research, which has previously proven that pre-cancerous and
cancerous breasts are both hotter than normal breasts. The documentary
included video thermography of women with and without bras, proving
bras cause localized heating of breast tissue.
9. 2000. A group of researchers in Japan published their studies showing
that wearing a girdle and bra lowers the levels of the hormone melatonin
by 60 percent. (Chronobiol Int 2000 Nov;17(6):783-93 "The effects
skin pressure by clothing on circadian rhythms of core temperature and
salivary melatonin." Lee YA, Hyun KJ, Tokura H, Department of
Environmental Health, Nara Women's University, Japan.)
Melatonin is intimately involved with sleep cycles and is used to prevent
jet-lag. Numerous published studies have suggested that melatonin has
anti-cancer activities, that it is an antioxidant and can prevent DNA
damage, and that it is intimately involved in the immune system and
bind directly to T helper cells. Researchers in Spain have published
article outlining the possible use of melatonin in breast cancer
prevention and treatment (Histol Histopathol 2000 Apr;15(2):637-47).
Recent research (J. Hansen, "Light at Night, Shiftwork, and Breast
Cancer Risk" J Natl Cancer Inst 2001; 93: 1513-1515) has shown
nighttime exposure to light is associated with increased rates of breast
cancer. This builds upon previous research that showed that light at
night suppresses melatonin production.
10. December 2000. A medical doctor published his findings on shoulder
pain treatment in women with large breasts. In this five-year study,
was suggested that patients remove the weight from their shoulders for
period of two weeks, either by going braless or by wearing a strapless
bra. Only one woman chose a strapless bra and all the others went
braless. quoting the article, "Long-term outcome was presence or
of muscle pain and tenderness. Seventy-nine percent of patients decided
remove breast weight from the shoulder permanently because it rendered
them symptom free." (Ryan, EL, Clin J Pain 2000 Dec;16(4):298-303,
"Pectoral girdle myalgia in women: a 5-year study in a clinical
Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
The Wise Woman Way
by Susun S. Weed
Foreword by Christiane Northrup, MD
380 pages, index, profusely illustrated.
Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen.
Retails for $21.95
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