Breast Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

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Disproven or controversial breast cancer risk factors

There are many factors that research has shown are not linked to breast cancer. You may see information online or hear about these disproven or controversial risk factors, but it’s important to learn the facts.


Internet and e-mail rumors have suggested that chemicals in underarm antiperspirants are absorbed through the skin, interfere with lymph circulation, and cause toxins to build up in the breast, over time leading to breast cancer.

Based on the available evidence (including what we know about how the body works), there’s little if any reason to believe that antiperspirants increase the risk of breast cancer. For more information, see Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk.


Internet and e-mail rumors and at least one book have suggested that bras cause breast cancer by blocking lymph flow. There’s no good scientific or clinical basis for this claim, and a recent study of more than 1,500 women found no link between wearing a bra and breast cancer risk.

Induced abortion

Several studies have provided very strong data that neither induced abortions nor spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) have an overall effect on the risk of breast cancer. For more detailed information, see Is Abortion Linked to Breast Cancer?

Breast implants

Several studies have found that breast implants do not increase the risk of breast cancer. Implants can make breast tissue harder to see on standard mammograms, but extra x-ray pictures called implant displacement views can be used to examine the breast tissue more completely.

Breast implants might be linked to a rare type of lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. This lymphoma has rarely been found in the breast tissue around the implants. So far, though, there are too few cases to know if the risk of this lymphoma is really higher in women with implants.

Last Medical Review: 10/09/2015
Last Revised: 10/20/2015