So as most people in America are aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The National Cancer Institute postulates that the average American woman has a 1 in 8 chance of developing cancer in her lifetime. The risk is higher based on several factors, of course, such as a family history of breast cancer, exposure to toxic substances and chemicals (even just stuff you have around your house), or not breastfeeding.
Breasts are packed with lymphatic tissue. The lymph system in your body is important for moving fluid and different substances around, but unlike your circulatory system, the lymph system has no “pump.” The lymph system depends on movement to transport beneficial compounds to different parts of the body, and take away harmful substances or even just built-up lymph fluid, which can cause issues. Obviously, that is a really basic overview; Google to your heart’s content for more in-depth information.
The point is that breasts need movement in order to have the toxins that accumulate there flushed out by lymphatic fluid. This is how it works in all other parts of your body, too; but it is important to remember that most harmful substances are stored in fat, and fatty tissue is a major part of breast anatomy. Because breasts are a storage facility for toxins, if you will, helping your lymphatic system to remove these substances is really important.
The way to be the most unhelpful to your hardworking lymphatic system is to wear a bra.
Whoah! What did I just say? Don’t wear a bra???? Certainly there are women who do just that. Since breasts need to move, this allows maximum opportunity for movement. Some scientists also suspect that temperature has a significant impact on tumor development, and that keeping breasts (an external organ) closely bound to the body increases their temperature and could be harmful. So yes, not wearing a bra would work for all that. I have not heard of any traditional or tribal cultures that wore bras, so somwhere along the line, your grandmothers were not wearing bras.
Perhaps you are not interested in being quite that avant garde. I don’t blame you. Most women find it uncomfortable to not wear a bra for many reasons. One being purely physical…frankly, most women like the added support that a bra gives them. Though I have read that over time, your ligaments and supporting musculature will firm up to help support your breasts.
My brests have never, um, been large enough to really require added support, but I have struggled with the supposed “modesty” issue of not wearing a bra. Since breasts are such a sexual object in American culture, not having them tightly under control made me feel rather conspicuous–even though I disagree with how much breasts are idolized in a sexual way by our culture.
So, I compromise. As is recommended, I do not wear a bra of any sort at night. Is that TMI? I hope not; I apologize if it is. I do not wear underwire bras, and I do not wear push up bras. These two types of bras are more constricting than wireless, regular bras. If you are wiling to wear them, crop top type bras or camisoles, with or without a built in shelf bra, are a great way to allow some breast movement while still feeling all the way dressed. I also find these types of bras to be infinitely cooler and more comfortable than the standard wired bra.
If you just can’t bear the thought of parting with your lovely lace push up bras, there are other things you can do to help reduce the impact of wearing them. For one, as I mentioned, sleep without a bra! You could also take your bra off when you get home for the day, and allow your breasts some “breathing time.” There are also specific massage techniques posted on the Internet that you can do to help move lymphatic fluid around your breasts.
Let’s try PREVENTING breast cancer, not just curing it…let your breasts to move!