GOOP, the lifestyle blog from actress Gwyneth Paltrow, recently published an article on a long-discredited claim that there could be a link between wearing bras and breast cancer. Though they cited research that has been dismissed as false by The American Cancer Society, Paltrow and her brain trust over at GOOP decided to post the piece during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The author of the post, Dr. Habib Sadeghi, offers as evidence the book Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, written in 1995 by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, a husband-and-wife team of medical anthropologists.
The quackery begins by talking about how bras restrict the lymph nodes:
Among those who acknowledge the bra/breast cancer risk connection, it’s widely held that a tight-fitting bra restricts the lymph nodes around the breast and underarm area, preventing toxins from being processed through them and flushed out of the body. Accumulated toxins anywhere in the body increase the risk for cancer.
Nope. The American Cancer Society says any theory that breast cancer is caused by an accumulation of toxins due to restricted lymph node drainage is “inconsistent with scientific concepts of breast physiology and pathology.” This is in line with statements from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Breastcancer.org. But the good doctor isn't done yet! Apparently breasts aren't supposed to get too warm:
Another concern that comes along with breast restriction is an increase in temperature. Breasts are external organs meant to hang out and somewhat away from the torso, maintaining a naturally lower temperature than the rest of the body. Certain cancers are temperature-sensitive. Temperature changes in the breast can alter hormone function and raise the risk of breast cancer, which is hormone dependent.
Thankfully, someone who knows what they're talking about took to the web to shut down GOOP. Jennifer Gunter, a San Francisco-area OB-GYN, wrote a post dismantling everything they said:
It’s breast size that increases the risk of breast cancer and not because larger breasts need more manhandling by underwires, but because larger breasts are harder to screen and are associated with obesity, a known risk for breast cancer. As an aside I don’t know what kind of bras these men have seen, but if your bra is impeding your lymphatic flow it is going to harm you because it will hurt. A lot. The kind of compression required to impact lymphatic flow is pretty significant. Maybe they should all wear one for a day or two so they can better understand exactly what a bra is and how it fits and works.
By the way, Dr. Habib Sadeghi is the same doctor that helped Gwyneth write an essay about water having feelings. Gwyneth has also used her blog to tout the medical benefits of steaming your vagina. Instead of trusting Gwyneth Paltrow for medical advice, it seems way safer to trust Yahoo! Answers, or a gypsy that offers consultations out of a van. Visit GOOP and laugh at it for any other reason, like buying absurdly expensive dog leashes.