Will Using Antiperspirants Give You Breast Cancer?

Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical EditorFor years, there has been scary talk of antiperspirants being a direct cause of breast cancer.

A bunch of scientific studies have said there’s no link, yet rumors continue to fly around the Internet, and from person to person — saying that keep-you-from-sweating lotion or cream is going to trigger cancer cells to form.

The ingredients under suspicion? Aluminum and parabens.

A new study may help ease your concerns … then again it may not. You’ll see why in a second.

A study in England analyzed 160 breast cancer tissue samples — and 99% of them contained parabens. First reaction: we’ve got a big problem here.

Then researchers then checked out which of these women used antiperspirants: and the surprise finding –many did not.

Other research shows parabens in other tissues of the body — areas without cancer.

So, can you blame parabens for causing breast cancer? The link sure isn’t very convincing.

Then again, how about antiperspirants? How could parabens get into a breast tumor if a woman doesn’t use antiperspirants … and never did?

The answer to that one: parabens are everywhere. Shampoos, make-up, food preservatives, etc. etc. etc. (So even men are exposed to parabens.)

The FDA continues to say there is no health risk from parabens, and certainly cannot be blamed for causing breast cancer. So does the American Cancer Society.

I  agree — the link just isn’t solid enough to say parabens cause cancer, even when applied to the armpit … meaning right next to breast tissue.

(But, if you still have concerns — there are paraben free antiperspirants from a from a few companies, including Burt’s Bees.)

The study can be found in the latest issue of The Journal of Applied Toxicology.

  • edward collins

    Try baking soda, cheap safe effective….

  • edward collins

    There’s a lot of confusion over what exactly in deodorant and other cosmetics might be linked to breast cancer, but one thing’s for sure: Parabens (chemicals like methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropylparaben, and isobutylparaben) are hormone disruptors (they mimic estrogen in the body) used in lots of different kinds of makeup, moisturizers, and hair care and shaving products. They’ve also turned up in breast cancer tumors … more than once!

    The latest study to show this was recently published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology just found that in 40 women with breast cancer who chose to have a mastectomy, 99 percent of the tissue samples had evidence of at least one paraben, and 60 percent showed evidence of FIVE! Uh … definitely raises the question as to whether or not these damn chemicals are related to cancer, right?

    It also bears noting that a lot of coverage of the study has discussed how this may alleviate fears that antiperspirant specifically is causing breast cancer, because parabens showed up in women who didn’t use it. But we don’t know if they were using a slew of other products that do have parabens!

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