Skip to content

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Antiperspirant: Link to Breast Cancer?

There's Much Debate, but Association May Be Just an Urban Myth

Cancer Groups Weigh In

In a report released in 2004, officials with the National Cancer Institute concluded that there was "no conclusive research" linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants to breast cancer.

Likewise, a recently released report from the American Cancer Society concluded that "there is no good scientific evidence to support the claim" that antiperspirants raise a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

ACS spokeswoman Elizabeth Ward, PhD, tells WebMD that there is not much evidence that any environmental exposure has a big impact on breast cancer risk. She points out that studies examining pesticides known to mimic estrogen have failed to show a link between exposure and breast cancer.

"This is a topic that is still under study, and it is important to study it further," she says. "But no strong evidence has emerged of a relationship [between breast cancer risk] and exposure to environmental contaminants."

A major government study involving 50,000 sisters of women with breast cancer may provide some answers about environmental and genetic causes of the disease.

The 10-year Sister Study, begun in 2004, will be the most detailed study ever to address the question of how environmental exposures, including cosmetic exposures, influence breast cancer risk, she says.


Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow