Science Questions

Can anti-perspirant cause cancer?

Sun, 4th Oct 2009

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Maggie Emerson asked:

ďIíve just received an email claiming that using an anti-perspirant can possibly cause breast cancer. Is there any proof in this? Iíve been using an anti-perspirant for many years.Ē




Kat -   Absolutely none.  This kind of information goes around and round on the internet but no, thereís been a lot of scientific studies done with large Ė huge, thousands of women and basically, thereís no difference.  Using an anti-perspirant will not increase your risk of cancer.  Neither will having underwire in your bra thatís too tight or any of those things that go around the internet in hoax emails.

Chris -   I suppose itís a flaw in statistics, isnít it?  They're saying, if you look at people who use underarm deodorants, they're more likely to get cancer.  But then everybody uses an underarm deodorant so therefore, by sheer fluke, you're going to see people having breast cancer because itís a common disease.

Kat -   Also, in people who donít use underarm deodorants, you still get a case of breast cancer.  I mean the best thing is to check out something like cancer help UK to find out whether this stuff is actually true and try and find out.


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Margie Emmerson asked the Naked Scientists: I have just received an email claiming that using an anti-perspirant can possibly cause breast cancer.†† Is there any proof of this.† I have been using an anti-perspirant for several years.† Looking forward to your reply. † Margaret Emmerson South Africa What do you think? Margie Emmerson , Wed, 9th Sep 2009

It's safest to assume that an important issue for your life will not arrive by unsolicited email.

Here is an answer concerning the very email you might have received.

If you've never been to snopes before you might have some fun reading there. Search on kfc and read the one about why they no longer use chicken in their company name. stereologist, Tue, 6th Oct 2009

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