No Bra Day: Wearing bra doesn’t cause breast sagging, cancer – Physician

A PUBLIC health physician, Adewumi Babatunde Enoch, has said wearing a bra would not make a woman’s breasts sag or inflict her with breast cancer.

In an exclusive chat with The ICIR on commemorating this year’s No Bra Day, Enoch said several scientific researches showed that wearing bras doesn’t lead to sagging breasts and cancer.

No Bra Day is an annual event that encourages women to avoid wearing a bra for a day to free themselves from a constrictive garment, promote breast cancer awareness and emphasise the importance of breast health. 

The event, celebrated every October 13 worldwide, urges women to embrace their bodies and focus on breast health and examination for early detection of breast cancer.

The National Cancer Institute defines cancer as a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other body parts.

A public health physician, Adewumi Babtunde Enoch
A public health physician, Adewumi Babtunde Enoch

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, or nearly one in six deaths. The agency, in a report titled ‘Cancer Country Profile’, also highlighted that in 2018, Nigeria recorded an estimated number of 116,000 new cases, as well as 70,327 cancer-related deaths. 

Wearing a bra might not be a cancer risk, but an ill-fitted bra can cause body discomfort and skin issues, said Enoch.

“Wearing a bra that doesn’t fit properly or wearing one for extended periods without a break can potentially lead to health issues. Some concerns include breast discomfort, restricted blood circulation and lymphatic flow, skin issues, and breast fungus.”

Enoch noted that contrary to popular belief, no definitive scientific evidence links bra-wearing with preventing or causing breast sagging.

According to him, breast sagging is a natural part of ageing and is influenced by various factors such as genetics, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations.

Enoch also stated that there is no credible scientific evidence that wearing a bra causes cancer, noting that “breast cancer is a complex disease with many risk factors, including genetics, family history, hormonal factors, and lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise.”

“The notion that wearing a bra, especially underwire bras, might cause breast cancer is a myth that has been debunked by reputable scientific research. Several large-scale studies have found no connection between wearing bras and an increased risk of breast cancer,”  he added.

Speaking on the significance of No Bra Day, Enoch, also the founder of Quinta Health, explained that it is a movement that supports women who have been survivors of breast cancer or are currently battling breast cancer, especially women who have had a mastectomy.

Mastectomy is a surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast to treat or prevent breast cancer.

“The effectiveness of such campaigns in raising awareness about breast cancer is a matter of debate. While events like No Bra Day generate attention and discussions about breast cancer, it’s important to accompany such awareness efforts with accurate information about breast health, risk factors, early detection methods, and the importance of regular screenings. 

The health physician explained that the awareness might lead to early cancer detection, reducing fatality chances.

“Regular self-examination helps women (and men) become familiar with their breasts’ normal appearance and detect any changes promptly. Early detection of breast cancer significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and survival. Regular self-examination also allows individuals to become familiar with the normal variations in their breast tissue. This familiarity can help distinguish between regular changes and potential warning signs.”

The doctor also argued that while self-examination is paramount, it should be complemented with medical examinations.

“While self-examination is important, it should not replace regular clinical breast examinations performed by healthcare professionals. Medical examinations, mammograms, and self-examinations work together to provide a comprehensive approach to breast health. Individuals should also be aware of other risk factors and discuss their breast health plan with healthcare professionals. Regular screenings and self-awareness are valuable tools in the fight against.”

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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