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.