Dressed to Kill (book)

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Dressed to Kill
Dressed to kill book.png
First edition cover
AuthorSydney Ross Singer, Soma Grismaijer
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreNon-Fiction
PublisherAvery Publishing Group/Penguin Putnam (first edition)
Square One Publishers (second edition)
Publication date
1995 (first edition), 2018 (second edition)
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages192 (first edition), 188 (second edition)
ISBN0-89529-664-0 (first edition)
ISBN 978-0-7570-0462-9 (second edition)
616.99/449071 20
LC ClassRC280.B8 S53 1995

Dressed to Kill is a 1995 book by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer that proposes a link between bras and breast cancer. According to the authors, the restrictive nature of a brassiere inhibits the lymphatic system, leading to an increased risk of breast cancer. The book's claims are considered unfounded by the scientific community, and researchers have criticized the authors' methdology as faulty.[1] Major medical organizations including the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society have found no evidence that bra-wearing increases breast-cancer risk.[2][3]

Background[edit]

Singer and Grismaijer argue that bra-wearing may cause breast cancer because of a purported effect on lymphatic circulation. Their interpretation is that constriction from tightly worn bras inhibits the proper functioning of the lymphatic system and leads to a buildup of fluid within the breast tissue. According to the authors, bra-induced constriction of the breast lymphatic vessels concentrates toxins within the breast tissue, which may ultimately lead to cancer.[1]

In Dressed to Kill, Singer and Grismaijer claim to have examined the bra-wearing attitudes and behaviors of over 4,700 US women in 5 major cities, and that half of the women questioned had had breast cancer. Women who had had breast cancer were asked about their bra-wearing habits prior to their diagnosis of cancer. The data presented in the book have never been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and researchers identified a number of methodological flaws in the authors' claims.[4]

After publishing Dressed to Kill, Singer and Grismaijer wrote Get It Off!, another book about the dangers of wearing bras, and a series of other books in which they claim that sleeping on a tilted bed can prevent Alzheimer's disease and impotence; that frequent defecation and urination can prevent many conditions such as prostate enlargement and menopausal symptoms; and that high blood pressure is a "major medical scam."[5]

Scientific reception[edit]

Medical and scientific bodies have generally not supported the book's claims about bras and breast cancer:

  • The National Cancer Institute (US) states that bras have not been shown to increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.[6]
  • The American Cancer Society states, "There are no scientifically valid studies that show wearing bras of any type causes breast cancer."[2]
  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health states, "Breast implants, using antiperspirants, and wearing underwire bras do not raise your risk for breast cancer."[3]
  • In 2000, as a follow-up to misreporting of a UK study, British health professionals stated that bras cause no increase in breast cancer risk.[7][8]
  • A study conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found "no aspect of bra wearing, including bra cup size, recency, average number of hours a day worn, wearing a bra with an underwire, or age first began regularly wearing a bra, was associated with risks" of breast cancer.[9] The study included detailed studies of women's lifestyle and bra-wearing habits and found no correlation between bra use and cancer.[10][4]

The authors' proposal that bras block the lymphatic system which leads to accumulated toxins and cancer was likewise contradicted by scientific study. The National Institutes of Health examined cancer rates among women who had their underarm lymph nodes removed as part of melanoma treatment: "The surgery, which is known to block lymph drainage from breast tissue, did not detectably increase breast cancer rates, the study found, meaning that it is extremely unlikely that wearing a bra, which affects lymph flow minimally if at all, would do so."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Elster, Naomi (September 26, 2016). "Your bra could kill you—and other breast cancer myths busted". The Guardian.
  2. ^ a b "Disproven or Controversial Breast Cancer Risk Factors". American Cancer Society. September 6, 2017. Retrieved 2018-07-16. Internet and e-mail rumors and at least one book have suggested that bras cause breast cancer by obstructing lymph flow. There is no good scientific or clinical basis for this claim, and a 2014 study of more than 1,500 women found no association between wearing a bra and breast cancer risk.
  3. ^ a b Breast Cancer Information from MedlinePlus. Accessed July 10, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Ray, C. Claiborne (February 15, 2010). "Bras and Cancer". New York Times. There is no scientifically credible evidence... and the proposed mechanism—that bras prevent elimination of toxins by blocking lymph flow—is not in line with scientific concepts of how breast cancer develops. Internet traffic on the issue is mostly inspired by one study with several scientific flaws, Dr. Gansler said. The study, never published in a peer-reviewed journal, did not adjust for known breast cancer risk factors that might be associated with bra-wearing behavior, like weight and age. Also, study participants knew the hypothesis before taking the survey.
  5. ^ Singer, Sydney; Grismaijer, Soma (2001). Get It Off! Understanding the Cause of Breast Pain, Cysts, and Cancer, Illustrated with A Little Breast Play. ISCD Press. ISBN 1-930858-01-9.[self-published source]
  6. ^ Fact Sheet on Breast Cancer Risk Factors, from the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Accessed July 10, 2008.
  7. ^ "Claims of bra link to cancer dismissed". BBC. 2000-10-30. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  8. ^ Stuart, Julia (2000-11-02). "Don't burn your bra just yet". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  9. ^ Chen L, Malone KE, Li CI (2014). "Bra wearing not associated with breast cancer risk: a population-based case-control study". Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 23 (10): 2181–2185. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0414. PMC 4184992. PMID 25192706.
  10. ^ "Putting to rest the myth that bras can cause breast cancer". The Washington Post. 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-26.

External links[edit]