Claim: Anti-perspirants have been identified as the leading cause of breast cancer.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, 1999]
BREAST CANCER PREVENTION
Not just for women — men don't forget to tell mom, cousins, etc. Deodorants (non-antiperspirants) are very hard to find but there are a few out there.
I just got information from a health seminar that I would like to share.
The leading cause of breast cancer is the use of anti-perspirant.
What? Yes ANTI-PERSPIRANT. Most of the products out there are an anti-perspirant/deodorant combination so go home and check your labels.
Deodorant is fine, anti-perspirant is not. Here's why:
The human body has a few areas that it uses to purge toxins; behind the knees, behind the ears, groin area, and armpits. The toxins are purged in the form of perspiration.
Anti-perspirant, as the name clearly indicates, prevents you from perspiring, thereby inhibiting the body from purging toxins from below the armpits. These toxins do not just magically disappear. Instead, the body deposits them in the lymph nodes below the arms since it cannot sweat them out. This causes a high concentration of toxins and leads to cell mutations: a.k.a. CANCER. Nearly all breast cancer tumors occur in the upper outside quadrant of the breast area. This is precisely where the lymph nodes are located.
Additionally, men are less likely (but not completely exempt) to develop breast cancer prompted by anti-perspirant usage because most of the anti-perspirant product is caught in their hair and is not directly applied to the skin. Women who apply anti-perspirant right after shaving increase the risk further because shaving causes almost imperceptible nicks in the skin which give the chemicals entrance into the body from the armpit area.
PLEASE pass this along to anyone you care about. Breast Cancer is becoming frighteningly common. This awareness may save lives. If you are skeptical about these findings, I urge you to do some research for yourself. You will arrive at the same conclusions, I assure you.
Origins: Breast cancer is scary stuff. It's the second most common type of cancer (after skin cancer) among women, and it's also the second most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer) among women. According to the American Cancer Society, this year about 175,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and about 43,300 deaths from breast cancer will occur among women in the USA.
Those numbers are enough to scare anyone, especially since we still don't know what causes breast cancer. Researchers have identified lots of risk factors (such as age, diet, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and family history), but the specific causes of breast cancer remain elusive. So when someone purports to have found a cause (maybe even the cause) of breast cancer, naturally we take note of it.
The years since World War II have seen a tremendous increase in the incidence of breast cancer, so efforts on identifying its causes often focus on changes in our society that have occurred since then, such as the increased use of pesticides, the
advent of birth control pills, changes in diet, and different styles and materials in women's clothing. It's compelling to think that anti-perspirants might be one of these causes: their use (in their current formulation) is a recent phenomenon, and the explanation given for how they might cause breast cancer seems to make sense (just as Sydney Ross Singer's 1995 book Dressed to Kill theorized that the wearing of tight-fitting bras leads to a concentration of carcinogenic compounds in the breasts and lymphatic system).
Recent research in this area has been contradictory. In 2002 a study led by Dana K. Mirick, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, confirmed that there was no link between breast cancer and anti-perspirants. Her study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, examined the personal hygiene habits of 813 women with breast cancer and 793 women without the disease, and found no correlation between cancer and the use of body odor control cosmetics.
In 2004, Dr. Kris McGrath, a Chicago allergist, performed a study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention which he claims is the first to find a connection between antiperspirants, underarm shaving, and cancer. He studied 400 Chicago-area breast cancer survivors and found that women "who performed these underarm habits more aggressively" had a diagnosis of breast cancer 22 years earlier than the non-users and theorized that substances found in deodorants such as aluminum chlorohydrate were entering the lymphatic system through nicks in the skin caused by shaving. Other specialists have expressed skepticism in the statistical weaknesses of Dr. McGrath's retrospective study.
E-Mail Rumor Links Anti-perspirant to Breast Cancer (American Cancer Society)
Study Disproves E-Mail Hoax Linking Antiperspirants, Cancer (Associated Press)
Deodorants, Shaving Could Cause Breast Cancer (NBC5)