Does Deodorant/Antiperspirant Cause Breast Cancer?

Rumors of a link between deodorant/antiperspirant and breast cancer have been around for nearly 20 years. The theory is that by blocking sweat glands in the armpits (particularly in women who shave their underarms), antiperspirants allow toxic compounds to accumulate in the underarm lymph nodes near the breasts, prompting cancer to develop.

imsis544-085However, research has found no conclusive evidence of a connection between deodorant/antiperspirant use and breast cancer.

A major study in 2002 found no data to support this claim. The study involved more than 1,600 women, about half of whom had breast cancer and an equal number who did not. The researchers found no link between breast cancer risk and the use of antiperspirants or deodorants or underarm shaving.

In a 2006 study, researchers examined antiperspirant use and other factors in 54 women with breast cancer and 50 women without it. They, too, found no link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer risk.

In summary, there is no substance to the theory that antiperspirants cause harmful substances to build up in the underarm lymph nodes. Lymph nodes do help clear out bacteria and wastes, but they don’t release these substances through sweating – in fact, they aren’t connected to the sweat glands. Cancer-causing substances are removed from the blood by the kidneys and liver and leave the body through urine and feces.

17 responses to “Does Deodorant/Antiperspirant Cause Breast Cancer?

  1. That’s a small sample size. More research needs to be done – a cross section of different breast cancer types and deodorant use should be done to see if there is a correlation

  2. I wondered if there was a link because of the use of paraben and/or aluminum (aluminum zirconium); some manufacturers of deodorant stopped put these two ingredients in their products.

  3. Who wrote this blog? It’s a bit disappointing that you cited one study rather than use the blog as an opportunity to discuss the information we know and that that we do not know. Depending on what ”side” you pick to argue you can find an article to defend your position. What about this one done one year after the one you referred to: And I’m not sure the issue of endocrine disruptors (like parabens) used in deodorants has been put to rest either.

    1. Dear Meredith —

      Thank you for the comment, and for referencing the 2003 study. We referred to a 2002 study and a 2006 study. Regardless of the dates of the study, you are right in implying that there are many different studies which offer different conclusions. Sometimes studies confirm other studies; other times they refute them. There are many factors at play in how a study is developed and conducted. It was the conclusion of our researchers, that, as of now, the science doesn’t support a link. As with many possible cancer factors, it deserves more research. Thanks again for the comment.

      1. The study Meredith referenced is one in which subjects are asked to recall certain aspects of their past history. This has been proven to be a very unreliable way to get information and thus it negatively affects the validity of the conclusion.

  4. I’ve also heard a connection between it and wearing a bra, because of the constriction etc…? Wish they’d added that in there as well. Commentors are right though, misses a lot of angles.

  5. Why waste the time waiting for the scientific method to slowly but surely tell you what you already know? The body is nearly perfect if not absolutely so, if sweat should pour from your pores and you stop it, you have broken something. If you continue this habit, you deserve whatever comes of it. Sad, but true. Let’s be serious here, we already know that mammograms increase the risk, we know there are 1000s of chemicals in our food, hygiene products, air, water and environment, less than 3% of those have ever been safety tested before approval by the FDA and no study has ever been done of the cumulative effects of all of them at once. DUH!

  6. I seen a picture about this issue and lead me on this post. I was so curious if this study is proven because of the lymp nodes conecting to our breast. I had a surgery on my armpit(lipo) due to excessive sweating and it makes me worried because ive heard that i might have chance to have a breast cancer in the future since my situation is related on this topic. If you know something about my situation id love to hear your opinion. Thanks!

  7. I think this is a valid study, but also incomplete. Of course, a lot of research has been done so far, but still they haven’t been able to scrape the surface of how chemicals alter normal body functions. This is one study to be considered, but so are other thousands of studies. Why not post both perspectives?

  8. Your article has given us a valuable insight on the link between antiperspirant deodorants and breast cancer. Do you have a relevant evidence of a connection between deodorant/antiperspirant use and breast cancer? Also, what can be a good substitute for an antiperspirant deodorant?

  9. I wear ozone layer deodorant, they give a free sample to cancer patients, better to err on the side of caution. No aluminum or any other questionable ingredients.

  10. It seems counter intuitive to think that deodorant could cause cancer by seeping through the teeny pores in our underarms. I understand strange things happen when environmental hazards cause cancer such as second hand smoke or asbestos inhalation but deodorant does not carry the same level of toxic chemicals or toxicity as those that we know cause cancer. The body is perfect as someone stated earlier and it is a great healer and filterer too. But you need to remember that not all bodies and immune systems are created equally. For the male respondent on here that claims mammograms cause breast cancer, let’s just say that he sounds like he works for your most evil enemy – the insurance company – and that he wants the women on this thread to drink his kool aid – kook aid. Don’t do it! Mammograms save lives and detect more early stage cancers than anything else including self examination because women don’t do these enough anymore. My own mothers life was saved by a mammogram and she did self exams too as a nurse she has always been quite diligent about self exams and early detection. But it was the mammogram that saved her life and 25 yrs later, here she stands tall and proud and still in remission but never to look a gift horse or a second chance at life in the mouth!! So how dare you Mr. Will think you can come on a msg board and spew completely false and damaging not mention life threatening information on here. Mammograms save lives!! But you know what doesn’t save lives??? PSA screenings don’t save lives. In fact, my own a Father died from Prostate Cancer even though he had his screenings and thru early detection they found it and surgically removed his Proatate. He did every single thing right that Dana Farber told him to do – even participated in clinical trials as a guinea pig for them. But he died of Proatate cancer after it spread to his organs 10 yrs into the disease. I kept asking them why they were not doing any MRI’s on him – only X-rays – and the response was ”we don’t do it that way – it’s not necessary”. Well sure it was because while they were looking at bones and hard tissue for signs of cancer, and calling it quits as in all clear, the Big C was hiding its ugly head out in soft tissue land -where only an MRI could have detected it! So, you don’t need to go to Harvard Medical school to state the obvious; routine diagnostic testing is critical for everyone. Until there is absolute evidence stating to the contrary (never happen) then be your best diagnostician and schedule those routine mamograms and demands all testing be done. Listen to your gut ladies and Never Ever let an imbecile male come on a msg board and try to sabotage your road to health. Men like Will don’t care about you or your health, they care about one thing only; Profits over People!!! Cheers to our health…

  11. I am curious of any studies done comparing women who shower before bed and those who shower in mornings and not before bed. showering before going to bed and not applying anything gives that more time to let the pores “breath” and not clogging them up with antiperspirants ….just saying.

  12. I recently completed treatment for breast cancer. This subject is of interest because of studies regarding the aluminum in the product. Most women get breast cancer in the left breast because most women are right handed and tend to apply more under the left arm. My cancer was in the right breast…..I am left handed! An all natural, organic deodorant can easily be found on the internet and is not expensive. I use one now and it works fine. Why take a chance?? It’s the aluminum!!

  13. Ozone is extremely toxic and a carcinogen! Those ionizing air cleaners that create ozone also cause lung cancer.

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