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April 30, 2008

Antiperspirants and breast cancer: reality vs.myth

Dear All,
An email regarding antiperspirants and cancer has been circulating around , which is NOT TRUEand is a big MYTH. Please do check this link from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Please do circulate this email, help us spread accurate information.

Antiperspirants and breast cancerUpdate (January 2004)
In January 2004 new research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology found an ingredient called parabens in 20 human breast tumours. Parabens are preservatives used in many pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic products (including a range of cosmetics applied to the underarm and breast area). The researchers stated that parabens have been known to mimic the effects of estrogen, which can promote breast cancer tumour growth.
Canadian Cancer Society perspective
The research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology did not show a direct cause and effect relationship between antiperspirants, deodorants and breast cancer. The findings are interesting, but the study was small. More research is needed to provide definitive answers about this issue.
View the full research report in the Journal of Applied Toxicology.

Antiperspirants and breast cancer: e-mail rumour
Over the past few years, e-mails have been circulating about antiperspirants causing breast cancer. These rumours are not true.
The e-mail incorrectly stated:
" That the leading cause of breast cancer is the use of antiperspirant. "
Science tells us :
"There have been many thorough studies of breast cancer risk and they have not found antiperspirant use to be a risk factor for developing breast cancer. A study published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute in October 2002 looked at the possible relationship between the use of products for underarm perspiration and the risk of breast cancer in women aged 20 to 74 years. The researchers concluded that breast cancer risk did not increase with antiperspirant or deodorant use, use of a product right after underarm hair removal with a razor, or use of products within one hour after shaving."
The e-mail incorrectly stated:
"That antiperspirant prevents the body from perspiring, thereby inhibiting the purging of toxins from below the armpits. These toxins do not disappear; the body deposits them in the lymph nodes below the arms since it cannot sweat them out. This causes a high concentration of the toxins and leads to cell mutations. "
Science tells us:
"The primary purpose of perspiration is as a cooling mechanism. While lymph nodes do clear some toxins from the body, your liver and kidneys play a far more important role in eliminating substances from your system, and far more “toxins” are purged through urination than through perspiration. "
The e-mail incorrectly stated:
"That nearly all breast cancers are in the upper outside quadrant of the breast area. This is precisely where the lymph nodes are located. "
Science tells us:
"About 50% of breast cancers are in the upper outer quadrant. The reason is entirely unrelated to lymph nodes and is because most of the breast tissue is located there. The breast quadrants are not of equal size; the nipple is not in the true centre of the breast and a significant amount of breast tissue (axillary tail) extends toward the underarm."
The e-mail incorrectly stated:
"That men are less likely to develop breast cancer because most of the anti-perspirant is caught in the hair and not directly applied to the skin. Women who apply antiperspirant right after shaving increase the risk further because shaving causes almost imperceptible nicks in the skin that give the chemicals entrance to the body from the armpit area. "
Science tells us:
"About 1% of breast cancers are found in men. Hormonal factors play a role. There is no scientific evidence that antiperspirants or deodorants cause, or even increase, a man’s or woman’s risk of breast cancer. Razor nicks can increase the risk of infection, but not cancer."

The Canadian Cancer Society understands that Canadians are concerned about breast cancer, but recommends that you be cautious of any medical information or claims obtained from the unmonitored Internet – the Internet can be an empowering source of information but it should never replace discussion with a doctor.
The Canadian Cancer Society will monitor research about this link and update our health information if appropriate. We are committed to conveying information about cancer risk to Canadians.

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