If you wear a bra to bed, pay attention

I received a forwarded e-mail about a study that links breast cancer with prolonged wearing of bra. My antennae went up immediately. But since I’m not in the habit of re-forwarding forwarded information without doing my own sluething, I did a background check. It appears that there is a book called Dressed to Kill: The link between breast cancer and bras by medical anthropologists Soma Grismaijer and Sydney Ross Singer. I haven’t read the book. A Dr. Ralph L. Reed (Ph.D in biochemistry) was quoted in a website with the following summary:

In January 1996, I discovered the book by Singer and Grismaijer and their explanation of impaired lymphatic flow intrigued me. I have since read everything that I can find on lymphatic flow… In essence, what Singer and Grismaijer found was that the odds of getting breast cancer dramatically increased with bra-wearing over 12 hours per day.

Women who wore their bras 24 hours per day had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer (in their study, n=2056 for the cancer group and n=2674 for the standard group).

Women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed had a 1 out of 7 risk.

Women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day had a 1 out of 152 risk.

Women who wore bras rarely or never had a 1 out of 168 chance of getting breast cancer. The overall difference between 24 hour wearing and not at all was a 125-fold difference.

From the editorial review of the Amazon staff:

Singer and Grismaijer have collected striking (but preliminary) evidence that bra-wearing may be a major risk factor associated with breast cancer: women who wear tight-fitting bras 24 hours a day are 125 times more likely to have breast cancer than women who do not wear bras at all. Their interpretation is that tight clothing inhibits the proper functioning of the lymphatic system (an internal network of vessels and nodes that flushes wastes from the body) and leads to a buildup of carcinogenic compounds in the constricted areas.

The American Cancer Society is dismissive.

Whether you believe the book or you take the attitude of the American Cancer Society, the bottom line is that most women all over the world wear bras. The question is why. For health? Hardly. Historically, bras were worn for the same reasons that corsets were worn. Two reasons:

1. To cover the breasts; and

2. To restrain the shape and movement of the breasts, either to:
a. Push up the breasts and prevent them from sagging; or
b. Reshape the breasts to make them rounder and fuller.

The first reason implies that there is something wrong about showing a woman’s breasts (note that there was a time when it was considered improper for a woman to show her ankles). A culture issue, definitely, and hardly a universal standard as there are cultures where women go completely topless every single day.

The second reason is more controversial — a mixture of vanity, fashion, eroticism and, according to hardcore feminists, the pressure to reform a woman’s body in accordance with what men find sexually desirable.

The truth is, most men have a fixation with women’s breasts. Whether it is a form of Oedipus complex, a carry over from the days when their mothers breastfed them, I am not sure. I do know, however, that most men look differently at women with “nice” breasts. And many women make an effort to fit the mental image of a desirable woman with breasts that command a second glance. The question is — to what extent? To the extent of bearing the discomfort of underwired bras for over 12 hours a day just to look sexy at work? And if Singer and Grismaijer are really on to something, to the extent of risking breast cancer?

I wear bras but only when I go out. In the house, no. When I sleep, never, unless I’m too drunk to take it off. In the tropical heat, I find bras stifling. But, sadly, I am still a slave to the culture I was raised in with the belief that breasts ought to be covered. So I wear a bra when I go out. If only not to appear scandalous in a culture that believes breasts ought to be covered yet, ironically, a culture where both men and women go gaga over pushed up and reshaped breasts that peak under low cut decolletage. If I were to migrate to some Polynesian island where going topless is a way of life, I’d burn every bra I own with no second thoughts.

  • zara

    this advise is as old as my lola. when the time came na akoy ngadadalaga na my lola & mama wud always remind me to just wear bra when i go out coz of the reason na baka mgkacancer at para daw mkhinga ang breast ko. i just thought it was just a pamahiin before but meron pala talagang scientific explanation. like you, i don’t wear bras when i’m at home even when i’m too drunk napapansin ko talaga. hehehe!

    with regards to culture, its like bias sa mga babae coz males could go topless anytime without being harassed but tayong mga babae pag medyo sexy lang ang damit iba n agad connotation sa atin. double standards of society talaga. tsk!

    • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

      I take issue with the tolerance for topless men too. But then again, they suffer from a bias too. Women can wear pants but men can’t wear skirts unless they live in Scotland. :)

      • zara

        lolz! nice one ms. connie!

        • pensortijas

          How about this one –

          Larger Breasts Pay Off for Waitresses, Study by Hotel Professor Finds


          One snippet:

          ““Evolutionary theories suggest that men [who] find women with large, non-droopy breasts attractive … would leave more offspring behind,” he said. Such qualities in women suggest greater “reproductive potential,” according to Lynn. ”

          Unfortunately, it still does not answer why men has fixation on women’s with big breast.

          • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

            Whoa. What’s the perceived connection between large breasts and number of offspring…

          • d0d0ng

            From where I used to grew up, women didn’t wear bras. I had seen different shape and sizes including close kins and relatives. It was just a natural thing. Wearing bra at the ricefield? No way. Including my mother. There were seven of us all breastfed at our time. Since I was the middle child, my Nanay still breastfed my younger siblings. Now I remember that Nanay laughed when I played with her pump, maybe I thought it was a blowhorn of some sort but it did make a sound.

            It was different in the city when I started going to highschool where girls wore bras even if they were flat-chested. Must had been big business for bra producers.

            I did not start dating until after college and I was already working. Luckily my gf then did not like bra either. She wore white sando or biege camisoles instead which were definitely comfy than bra. The day I met her dad from the US, she was surprised by my expression. Later I told her I was amused that she wore bra and we were laughing. Her dad was so conservative that suitors were forbidden during college.

          • d0d0ng

            Now let us add this observation related to this topic, if you think America is the freeist country in the world, think again. Over 90% of North America women wear bra. It is the French women who discard bra because it too was restraining for comfort and natural beauty.

          • d0d0ng

            Now let us add this observation related to this topic, if you think America is the freeist country in the world, think again. Over 90% of North America women wear bra. It is the French women who discard bra because it too was restraining for comfort and natural beauty.

            It is something to behold when you are in Paris. You will love to say Bonjour! And love to hear swa, va, vavo sounds, like the ebbing music to your ears. Even the Microsoft windows commercial capitalize on it.


          • Trosp

            D0d0ng, when you say North America, that pertains to US of America if I’m not mistaken. Can you share us the link that over 90% of North American Women wear bra.

            For me, choosing breast between Americans and French, I would say American women have the breast and French women have the chest.

          • Trosp

            BTW, if we’re talking about women’s sex appeal and I would be asked that question, I would say it is the heavy on bottom (meaning the legs and butt) and the smell that count.

            Continuation of my kakulitan -

            o Heavy on top and light on bottom – Dolly Parton, Pamela Anderson

            o Light on top, heavy on bottom – JLo, Beyonce

            o Heavy on top, heavy on bottom – Coco Austin, Kim Kardashian

            o Light on top, light on bottom – Paris Hilton


          • Panay Islander_USA

            LOL!!! You should work for Penthouse or Playboy magazines, if not, any local girlie magazines or “other-related” jobs. You’re a real expert describing details with women looking simply “mahvelous.” The “kakulitan” is yours maybe but it’s so funny to me that I’m trying to put each of these faces & figures & their outfits in my head when these celebrities are featured on either TV events or magazine layouts and how everyone look distinguised from each other just like the way your “heavy top light bottom,” or any order of that sequence (doesn’t matter! haha!) examples! What a sight! Couldn’t help but put smile on my face! *Connie, I like the article.* Thank you! :0)

          • Trosp

            Actually, I’m just always attentive to details no matter how small it is.

          • d0d0ng

            Not that election is boring which is actually it is.

            But bra is far more interesting than anything. On the extreme side, it can send you to instant death like the 2 Britons killed by their underwire bra when lightning unfortunately send 100 million volts to it so their vital organs were literally fried in seconds. Also, a Florida mother having a post partum depression strangled her baby with her bra – a deadly weapon in the wrong person. Not to mention, wearing a wrong one is like suffocating yourself. If you experienced headache and backpain from time to time, maybe you should check your bra. Now, there is correlation of prolonged bra use and breast cancer.

            For men, you cannot just go to a department store by impulse and buy one as a gift for your love one without knowing her size. It is a big NO-NO. Apart of impending disaster, you put yourself on the spot with plenty of smiles from women around who can decipher your ignorance. The saleslady can take it as compliment when one desperately size her up as being similar. Dude, if you start looking at your open hands? Everybody burst laughing. Coz I had that experience…. But everybody were nice and helpful.

            Seriously though. It is the only application of letter where A is not that good.

          • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

            Re the Brits, when did that happen? As far as I know, they use plastic wires these days. No lightning rod there.

          • ingrid

            i sometimes wear my bra during sleep and around the house. but because of the scorching weather i only wear them when going out of the house. because i’m “blessed” in front it strains my shoulder when i go bra-less. and i only wear wired ones not because i want them perky but it supports the weight. there are times that i ask my hubby if its okay if i have them reduced a bit and he discourages it.

          • d0d0ng

            It was reported in Oct 1999, when underwire bra used metal wire then.


          • Ruth

            Trying to catch up on what’s going on and guess what- This is one of the most entertaining and amusing topics Connie has instigated in a while hehehe. More of this please. A welcome change from all that election bruhaha.

          • Trosp

            While we’re in a department store, I once read a joke about a husband and wife or to be PC a wife and husband (or a couple) who are in a department store shopping for a bra for the wife -

            Man: Hey, It’s taking you time to size the bra you want. You can choose any bra since yours fit any size.

            Woman: Heh, shut up. I don’t make any noise when you’re buying your briefs.

          • d0d0ng

            You can google “how many americans wear bras”.

          • Trosp

            d0d0ng, the result of my google is this one -

            “The average American woman today owns six bras, one of which is a strapless bra, and one in a colour other than white.[30][31] Consumers spend around $16 billion a year on bras.[5] In the last 15 years alone, the average bust size among North American women has increased from 34B to 36C.[5] A number of sources state that about 90% of Western women wear bras, although no authoritative source for this fact is available.[32][33][34] Some women wear bras because of notions of modesty; others because they believe that it is part of their cultural norm and that not wearing a bra would lead to ostracism. Some wear bras because they believe it improves their appearance; while others because they find wearing a bra more comfortable than going without.”



          • d0d0ng

            Also, your choices is heavily influenced by the American movies you watched. French language is still a barrier. Sophie Marceau was top of my list even before she was a bond girl.

          • Trosp

            Yes you’re correct in commenting that my choices is heavily influenced by American movies. However, I’ll tell you that when I glance at a a woman of interest to me, most of the time, I start it on the feet going upwards. I’m not so much impressed by heavy on top ones.

          • d0d0ng

            Must have been the arcs or curves! It is the common denominator from the foot to the neck. It is just more pronounced in the B section (boobs and butts, the garment industry made a killing with low jeans).

          • Trosp

            Ha ha ha, d0dong, ikaw talaga…

            Do you mean to say heavy on top and heavy on bottom when you pertains to B section?

            For the boys (or perhaps for everybody who are holding their breathe while reading comments on this post) – have you encountered a woman who is semi-heavy on top and very heavy on bottom? Try googling Andressa Soares (Mulher Melancia), a very popular Brazilian woman who was once featured in Playboy magazine. How I wish to meet this kind of woman with that curve in person…

            To lighten up the day. When I was working abroad and whiling the hours together with a countryman colleague in their malls, he remarked “Dre, okay dito, ang lalaki ng bobs ng mga chiks”. (He was ogling at women who were wearing skin tight clothes that empha”size” their assets).

            Sagot ko naman, “Anong bobs? Baka boobs.”

            Sagot naman nya, “Oo nga, dyuga di ba?”.

          • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion


          • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

            Monica Bellucci is sexy. From the face all the way down.

          • thomas

            I am a male having very large breasts and pointed nipples. I have been wearing bra for the last ten years, I wear it under my T shirt which is often revealing. Now my size is 42′. Nipples protrude through bra having cherry colour. It is a big attractiion for both men and woman. People sometimes stare at me but I don’t care. In the shop sales girls use to select me right type of bra and they love to see me in bra.

          • thomas

            Amazing. Appreciate your courage.

  • http://damnvixen.blogspot.com damnvixen

    yes to burning bras!! it helps to avoid tight wired bras too.. amen to going braless!

    The ViXeN’s LaiR

  • http://www.ramellatan.kramfs.com mella

    i don’t like wearing bras when I’m at home. That’s one of the many reasons why we’re not sharing our rented flat with others. I want to be able to walk around the house braless.

    • Trosp

      How true is this one -

      Some if not most of liberated (or shall I say modern) women endowed with full breasts would likely cover her genitalia (at least to show her demureness or maybe vanity he he he…) if she accidentally encountered a man while fully naked. Other women in the same situation will cover her breasts if she has that thing that can’t be flaunted.

      This Oedipus complex, IMO, are exceptional cases rather than the rule.

      Admittedly, most men, including me, has fixation on women’s breast. In my circle of friends, the description of full breast is “kapus-palad ka dyan”. We also have this “heavy on top and light on bottom or light on top heavy on bottom” descriptions. Medyo caricature ang dating pag heavy on top and light on bottom (so having a full breast has additional parameters).

      It’s all part of eroticism for us.


      • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

        The question nga is why. Why the breasts? So many body parts to get fixated on but why the breasts? It must have something to do with the breastfeeding days.

        • Trosp

          Personally, I can only say that it has nothing to do with breast feeding.

          It seems to me your question is something that is dwelling similar with what you’re thinking when you’re about to have an orgasm while making love with your mate. Or something bordering to what are you really thinking when you’re having it with you’re mate? Something like “are you really thinking it is your mate whom you’re imagining doing it with?”

          I don’t know the answer and I’ll prefer to leave it as it is.

          No harm no foul.

        • d0d0ng

          Let me try.

          Men are visual and love to imagine that there is greater sensory reaction based on size. It did not help either that the porn industry pushed for large breasted characters. But in the contract for augmentation, there is provision for loss of sensation but who cares anyway.

          In terms of sensitivity, the width of areola as opposed to the size of the breast is the better guide. But guys cannot see it so remains the fixation on breast, all hype and in the guy’s fantasy.

          • Trosp

            D0d0ng, in your comment -

            “Men are visual and love to imagine that there is greater sensory reaction based on size”.

            However, actually performing it with a woman in bed seems to have this conclusion in some if not most of the cases:

            o Slim women seems to be the best bed partner. Sabi nga ng karamihang kakwentuhan kong kabarkada, papatalsikin ka sa kisame.

            o Big breast is a short term item in bed with a woman. Two or three minutes in bed and you’re likely to ignore them.

            o Heavy on bottom women are better bed partners than big breasted women.(This is my own opinion).

            Talagang OT na ako. My apology.

        • d0d0ng

          There is an article by Christopher Ryan at Sex Dawn, “”Why Do Breasts Mesmerize?”. So from prehistoric times to this day, men still believed in the genital echo theory as signalling devices to fertility.

          Round is equated to fertility.

          • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

            Whoa, now men are discussing bras… LOL

      • Jenny

        Envy the French women, as they can comfortably go braless in public.

        • http://jrocas.com.ph Jhay

          I’d take a more functional approach, if the breasts are indeed sagging and would be a discomfort if left unsupported, then wear a bra. Otherwise, don’t wear them.

          As per going to bed with bras on, 90% of my female classmates and friends over the years don’t do it. They say it’s uncomfortable and yes, they’ve been told that it could cause breast cancer.

          • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

            “90% of my female classmates and friends…”

            Wait, wait, wait… you know this because you’ve been to bed with 90% of your female classmates and friends?? Your GF reads my blog, doesn’t she? :razz: Joking lang po.

          • http://thecookmobile.com lalaine

            I wish I can join the “braless revolution” but time and gravity have already taken their toll :( Things are not where they used to be. Ha ha ha.

          • Elaine

            Some of us may still live in places where we can’t comfortably go braless in the day, or are too big to enjoy it! I’ve always been of the “less is more” school when it comes to bras so I imagine the dangers are minimal. And you’d have to be INSANE to wear one to bed!!

          • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

            Lalaine, okay lang yun. Whatever’s comfortable. It’s like wearing shoes. High heels might be sexy but if sneakers are more comfy, why suffer?

            Elaine, when I was in high school, I had classmates who wore sando over their bras! Talk about covering up. And in Philippine climate too.

          • http://none Crisma

            Yes, our school had that decree also– to wear a sando over the bra– the reason given by the Directress (a nun) : we don’t leave anything to the imagination if we wear only a bra and a white, almost transluscent blouse
            (the upper half of our HS uniform)…it was strictly enforced , too!

          • d0d0ng


            That would be 3 layers. It is cruel and unusual punishment! You know how hot and humid it is.

            Poor Dos Poor Santos, you have to let it breath!

          • janice

            hi there ms. connie!

            nice discussion here..i also read somewhere that almost 90% of women wear bras the wrong way, meaning it is not really doing their breasts good..one reason is wearing the wrong cup size thus maybe it is not supporting the breasts the way it should..and then not following the proper anatomical landmarks in measuring cup size..

            funny thing is it was my hubby who helped me pick out the right size of my bra, because he read about it more than i did..hehe talk about interests..peace to guys here!

  • http://www.twitter.com/reginabeth Beatrize

    Same thing with me, Ms. Connie, I don’t wear a bra at home (ang init yata, kahit rainy season!), when I go somewhere that’s walking distance (store, grocery, market), being the flat-chested that I am, I easily get away with still going braless, as long as I’m wearing a shirt or a blouse (w/my hubby’s knowledge–not sure about consent, well, he hasn’t complained about it, we’ve been married almost 19 years), which is why no matter how many jokes I get from friends since I was a teenager, I had absolutely no qualms about being flat-chested, to me it is & was always an advantage. And the sweetest revenge? I had an abundant supply of milk that I was able to breastfeed both kids until the time I gave up.

  • http://casaveneracion.com Connie Veneracion

    You know… my kids, rather than Speedy, are the ones who feel scandalized when I go braless. There was a time in Pampanga when I had stomach cramps and I couldn’t breathe, and I took off my bra right there in the car, at midday, wala ako pakialam. And the girls went, “Mommy…” in that scandalized tone hahaha