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Anti-Perspirants and Shaving: Do they cause breast cancer too?

Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Feb 08, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Antiperspirants and underarm shaving cause breast cancer, too!

Dr. Kris McGrath, M.D. of Chicago published a study of 400 breast cancer survivors, in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. Women who aggressively shave and use antiperspirant had a diagnosis of breast cancer 22 years earlier than non-users.

The most obvious conclusion is that tiny nicks in the skin caused by shaving allow for more penetration of the cancer-causing aluminum found in anti-perspirants.

One more time I’ll mention that I have not worn a commercial deodorant or anti-perspirant in years. Not even when I speak in front of 500 people, or wear a little black dress—or both, as I will do tomorrow night in Lehi, Utah. Not even when I run 5 miles and have a meeting right after.

The two things that work for me are a crystal stick (found in health food stores, a few brands), and coconut oil. There are no-paraben (which is an endocrine disruptor found in many cosmetics), no-aluminum deodorants on the market. You can try them but they chafe and don’t really work for me.

I hope you stop wearing commercial anti-perspirants, forever, today.

(Shaving? That I’m not giving up. Certainly not until I move to my little island in Europe. It shouldn’t matter if I’m not using deodorant with chemicals.)

In response to yesterday’s blog post, Grace made the point that the research I quoted wasn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal. I believe that most of the important and most-true information in the world is unpublished in peer-reviewed journals. Why? First, those vehicles were invented by the pharmaceutical industry. Second, only the pharmaceutical industry can afford to perform million-dollar clinical trials that are publishable. Third, not every piece of research is related to a medical rag, and not every researcher’s goal is to publish.

On the flip side, some of the worst lies ever perpetrated on the American public started by being published with “promising results” in the peer-reviewed journals. (Fen-phen, Lipitor, and Avastin, as examples.) Your peers allowing it to be published is not a failsafe. On the flip side, your not submitting it to the journals isn’t necessarily a credibility killer either.

I wish research weren’t so co-opted by a few wealthy industries. Remember that the five richest companies in the Fortune 500 are drug companies, and their wealth, combined, dwarfs the other 495 of the Fortune 500 combined! I love research, I love analysis, I love data and empirical evidence. But medical journals are businesses. I just don’t believe that the peer review or publishing processes necessarily validate information or that the medical journals have a corner on data.

Posted in: Health Concerns, Lifestyle, Preventive Care

47 thoughts on “Anti-Perspirants and Shaving: Do they cause breast cancer too?”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I know that we are supposed to sweat but it is not very socially acceptable in certain situations. If I am nervous I will sweat profusely and even if I am wearing a strong antiperspirant I will still sweat so much that it will show through my clothes. Needless to say at times I have a bit of a sweating problem and it can be really embarrassing. It sounds like there are a lot of alternatives out there for deodorant but not sure about sweating issues. Also many suggestions were made but the amounts on the recipes were not always made clear. Any tips for those of us cursed with overly active sweat glands would be appreciated.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Robyn- Have you ever tried LAVANILA’s The Healthy Deodorant? It looks as though it is paraben and aluminum free. Does it look like a deodorant safe trying?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I gave up using shaving cream last year. I use Almond Oil now. One bottle is 10.60 and it will lasts alomst 6 months, much less that I was spending on shaving creams! And its almonds, that the only ingredient!

  4. Debbie says:

    Hi Robyn,
    Thought you were coming to Baton Rouge, La to do a seminar in February. I don’t see it on the schedule. We desperately need to learn about healthy eating here. We are the number 1 state for obesity and probaly cancer as well. What say you?
    N I, Louisiana

  5. Dr. Patryce A~ says:

    Thank you for the comments asking about this pink ribbon nonsense already..
    enough is enough…
    do you receive email and information from the Breast Cancer Action group?
    here is the link of one of the terrific articles and call to action..

    we must keep women in the know of how they are being duped into using a ton
    of energy in a somewhat strange way to help those that died of breast
    cancer (my sister included)..
    time to use your pen & petitions to help all of us women..and all of the
    other humans as more and more are affected by cancers.

    In Health & Healing,

    Dr. Patryce A~

    Patryce A. Smith PhD
    Holistic-Natural Health Educator
    Aha Moments-Intuitive Idea Development, LLC

  6. Karen J Gray says:

    One thing I wonder about is Vitamin K2. For vegans, it’s not something they’d be likely to get, because even the new supplement form is made by bacteria, which are animals, so if you define vegan as ‘no animal products will be eaten’, then they get no K2.

    And the original source for it used to be grass fed meat. It’s fat soluble, so only comes in fat form foods, and only grass fed cows or other ruminants can make it. We can get a small amount from aged cheese, but in general we avoid all fats, and thus are all deficient. This is not brand new knowledge, but it’s not well known either.

    We used to get K2 in plenty from eating grass fed meat, but when farmers began raising animals on grain and artificial vitamins, K2 vanished from the fat in the meat. The animals are slaughtered young, so deficiencies tend not to show up before this is done, but we have all kinds of signs of deficiency, and we think they are normal because it’s so prevalent.

    Robyn, have you read the book, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox ? Written by a respected naturopath, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, it had a powerful impact on me when I read it. I was classed as high risk for osteoporosis, at age 48, having bone scans yearly and my doctor wanted me on one of those bone builder drugs. But the side effects were so vile I could not stand to take the stuff. I had to start stuffing myself with Vit D and Calcium/Magnesium and everything else that is supposed to help it work, and get more weight bearing exercise.. which is really tough for me. I have severe chronic pain, from fibromyalgia and serious back problems, due to failed surgeries after a bad injury from a fall.
    It helped a lot when I found you and the green smoothies.. I do juice because I also have severe IBS and food allergies. I can’t manage very much insoluble fibre, though the soluble kind is helpful. But juice worked well and made a big difference. I managed to lose nearly fifty pounds.

    But it wasn’t until I began taking a K2 supplement that my bone scans really started to improve. I am now classed as normal risk, aged nearly 59 now. And K2 has a huge role to play in healthy tooth and bone development, as well as minimizing arterial plaque, kidney stones, and other problems caused by calcium being where it does not belong. K2 regulates calcium in the body and will actually remove it from arterial plaque and other tissues, and escort it to where it does belong, in bones and teeth.

    If you have not read the book I’d be deeply interested in what you think of it after you read it.
    The supplement, which is in the form MK 7 and made by Natural Factors, is packaged with 1000 mg. of Vit D. It is made by bacteria taken from Natto beans. These are essentially rotted soy beans stored in barley straw and are a regional Japanese delicacy… the bacteria were in the barley straw and people in Japan who eat Natto don’t have hip fractures or osteoporosis in old age like North Americans do. But Japanese who don’t eat Natto have about the same risk for osteoporosis as we do.

    Grass fed meat is almost impossible to come by nowdays unless you raise it yourself. Even what’s sold as being grass fed is usually grain finished, and it only takes a few weeks to use up the animal’s stores, leaving none for the meat eater later on to use. We cannot make it ourselves in any meaningful amounts, though a small amount can be had eating well aged cheeses. It would seem we were meant to get it from animal sourced fats.
    We don’t need huge amounts but we do need it. And it works in synergy with A and D, all 3 fat soluble vitamins working together do a host of things in the body, things that don’t work as well as they should without it. Makes Vit D work better, and Vit A work better as well.

    Love to see some comments on K2.. and the book. The two things I have learned about eating that have had the most powerful impact on my health were reading this book and finding GreensmoothieGirl when I did. Many thanks for what you taught me.

    Btw, I skip wearing bras as much as I can, and am going to try alternatives for the armpits too. Hate to sweat, hate to stink, but don’t want the Big C either !

    Keep up the good work and I really do hope you will read this book. Very thought provoking.

  7. Janet C. says:

    It was so great to meet you in October in Columbus. I’ve learned so much from you and I love the passion you bring to your mission. (Btw, I did switch to a crystal deodorant stick and I really love it. What took me so long?!). I just read an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola about the risks of mammograms outweighing the benefits, especially for women in their 40s like me (see below for link). This was news to me! Do you also believe women should not get annual mammograms?

  8. Sarah says:

    My crystal stick deodorant is aluminum free, but the ingredients say: Natural Mineral Salts (amomium alum). I’m reading mixed info about ammonium alum; any comments or thoughts to help guide me?

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