Oops, GOOP's Done It Again: No, Bras Do Not Cause Breast Cancer

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A recurring, ridiculous but hard-to-kill myth is that some bras can lead to breast cancer. Not true! But, Gwyneth's site, GOOP, is helping to promulgate this nonsense. A science blogger, Jen Gunter, attempts to debunk, and we shall help.

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It truly boggles the mind that anyone who considers themselves science or health literate would still be getting health or lifestyle advice from the loopy, GOOP-y site overseen by actress and media star Gwyneth Paltrow.

Its latest travesty: a deluded or ignorant pseudo-doctor alleges that wearing a bra can increase chances of getting breast cancer.

I was alerted to this nonsense by science blogger Dr. Jen Gunter in her "Wielding the Lasso of Truth" column recently. Her advice is well worth heeding: "It s so ludicrous that it should be funny, except some women will read this and be scared. Ladies, wear your bra or don t. Your choice. Heck, wear it to bed if it s comfortable. It s all good. If it s digging in get a fitting from an expert, not because it could be building up toxins but because everyone should know the joy of a well-fitted bra."

I don't care to spend too much time debunking this cruel and exploitative myth yet again, except to say it preys on women's fears of the most common cancer they are susceptible to getting .(1) Dr. David Gorski, a surgeon and blogger, has also taken on this topic frequently. Even if you are not a doctor, it doesn't take too much insight to eradicate the supposed scientific basis for this lunacy. Gorski put it as well as I could: "I ll cut to the chase. According to this study, there was no increased risk of breast cancer due to wearing a bra, a result that, to breast cancer specialists, was about as surprising as the observation that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, water is wet, and gasoline flammable. However, the myth that wearing bras increases the risk of breast cancer is one of those unsinkable rubber ducks (as James Randi would put it) of a myth that just won t die."

We can't expect miracles in popular culture, especially when trying to counter the harmful scare stories posted on sites such as GOOP, Natural Resources Defense Council or Natural News. But who knows, maybe if enough reputable bloggers call this one out for what it is, either women will stop paying attention or Ms. Paltrow will come to her senses and demand responsible science and health coverage in her name.

NOTE:

(1) It is not, however, the most deadly, that would be lung cancer and colorectal cancer, which kill far more women than breast cancer.