Is there a Link with Breast Cancer & Chemicals

Is there a Link with Breast Cancer & Chemicals

Is there a Link with Breast Cancer & Chemicals I have posted this on behalf of new user megabuff

Best wishes

Breast Cancer Care

Chemicals from underarm deodorants and other cosmetics can build up inside the body, according to a recent study. British
researchers have found traces of chemicals called parabens in
tissue taken from women with breast cancer. While there is no
evidence parabens cause cancer (breast cancer or any other
cancer), the scientists have called for the use of parabens to
be reviewed. The cosmetics industry insists the chemicals,
which are used as preservatives and are approved for use by
regulators, are safe. Dr Philippa Darbre and colleagues at the
University of Reading carried out tests on samples of 20
different human breast tumours (Breat Cancer). Writing in the
Journal of Applied Toxicology, they say they found traces of
parabens in every sample (of breast cancer tumour). Their tests
suggested the chemicals had seeped into the tissue after being
applied to the skin. “This is the first study to show their accumulation in human tissues,” said Dr Darbre. “It demonstrates that if people are exposed to these chemicals, then
the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies.” Dr Darbre said
there may be reason for people to be concerned about the
findings. “Their detection in human breast tumours (breast
cancer) is of concern since parabens have been shown to be able
to mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen,” she said.
“Oestrogen can drive the growth of human breast tumours (breast
cancer) . It would therefore seem especially prudent to consider
whether parabens should continue to be used in such a wide range of cosmetics applied to the breast area including deodorants.”

xeno-oestrogens Parabens isn’t the only chemical which mimics the effect of oestrogen - can’t name any of the others off hand but I’ve read stuff about so called xeno(ie from outside)-oestrogens. Perfumes are allegedly another source of xeno-oestrogens.

Obviously this is of particular concern to women with oestrogen sensitive cancer - like myself - and I often wonder how much oestrogen-mimicking chemicals I’m breathing in etc and what effect they might be having. Unfortunately it seems that the research into this area is in its infancy and I am always a bit worried that people will just think I’m cranky to mention something which doesn’t have any mainstream backing at present.

Anyway - thanks for this info - where did you find it ?


A fuller picture The following information about parabens is taken from Cancer Bacup’s webiste. I think it presents a good summary of current research:


I have recently heard that antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer. Is this true?

Rumours that antiperspirant use may cause breast cancer have been in the media and circulating the internet. One reason that the rumours might have come about is that breast cancers can often spread to the lymph nodes (lymph glands) in the armpit and antiperspirants and deodorants are often used on the skin in this area.

Two recent studies have looked into this issue but unfortunately they have not been conclusive, either way. The first from the National Cancer Institute in America, suggests that there is no link. The study which was completed in 2002 showed no evidence that deodorants or antiperspirants can cause breast cancer. The study also concluded that there was no increased risk of shaving the underarm and then using an antiperspirant. However the results have been criticised because the study did not compare the women with breast cancer to other women who did not have the cancer but used antiperspirants.

The second study, in 2004, looked at synthetic chemicals called parabens which are preservatives that are often found in antiperspirants. The study found evidence of parabens in 18 out of 20 human breast tumours that they looked at. They concluded that these chemicals may in some way increase the risk of breast cancer. However the study did not look to see if parabens are also present in women who do not have breast cancer, and did not give any explanation of how the chemicals may cause breast cancer to develop.

Other research looking into this issue has also failed to show any definite link between the use of deodorant or antiperspirants and breast cancer.

Deodorants and antiperspirants have been around for some time now and if they were causing breast cancer then a big increase in the number of women developing the condition might have been expected and this has not happened. If any link is ever found between antiperspirants or parabens and breast cancer, the link is likely to be very small.

Content last reviewed: 18 January 2006
Page last modified: 31 January 2006


This doesn’t appear to be new information.

?? Published early 2004???

re the paper itself - OK I haven’t read it ( happy to do so but I’m not paying to access a copy on the internet) 20 samples - VERY small numbers involved - has anyone actually studied healthy breast tissue for the same build up (abstract doesn’'t suggest this has happened) - need this “baseline” to attempt to draw any form of conclusion.

Jane’s post of CancerBACUP info sheet sums up the issue re possiblity of such a link well.

Information from Breast Cancer Care Hello forum members

There have been claims about a possible link between chemicals in
deodorants and breast cancer. Research continues and we await the
findings. Some people prefer to avoid them and choose to use products that do not contain parabens.

Best wishes

Information Nurse

Breast Cancer Care

Reassuring? Cancer Bacup says " If any link is ever found between antiperspirants or parabens and breast cancer, the link is likely to be very small"

Oh, that’s alright then as long as you are not one of the poor devils who might be susceptible to developing breast cancer as a result of a small link with antiperspirants/parabens - if such a link exists of course and we don’t know as more studies appear to be needed.

The “pat on the head, don’t worry about it dear” reassurance, of which the above quote is an example, annoys rather than reassures me.

I haven’t found any antiperspirants that contain parabens as an ingredient (lots of other stuff in them though). However many other cosmetics contain it - body lotions, moisturisers, for example. Parabens is used as a preservative.

These days, I prefer my cosmetics organic and they don’t “go off”, even though they have no preservatives.

parabens and bc I read some information about the possibility of parabens causing bc some years before I got bc. Didn’t really take much notice then. When my bc dx was confirmed I stopped using all deodorants and anti-perspirants because I was so concerned at their effects. I don’t smell, have a daily shower with Simple soap, have no hairs under my arms (a result of FEC chemo) and feel happy I have expunged these chemicals from my life.

What is Breast Cancer Care’s position on breast checking pro Hi all

Our breast health team have asked me to post the following

Breast Cancer Care does not endorse breast checking products. In our experience this type of equipment is not always as successful in practice as it may appear on paper. All breasts are different and therefore we try to encourage women to get to know their own breasts, how they look and feel, so that they notice any changes that might be unusual for them. It is also important that women are aware that breast lumps are not the only signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

For more details on breast awareness we would point forum members to the section on breast awareness on this website.

Best wishes
Breast Cancer Care