There is no convincing observational evidence from human studies that the use of antiperspirants, the use of deodorants, or reducing perspiration from the underarm area affects breast cancer risk. For example, in 2002, a publication of a study examining the prior use of antiperspirants and/or deodorants by approximately 800 women with breast cancer and approximately 800 women without the disease showed no link between usage of the products and occurrence of the disease. Moreover, a report published in 2004 by the National Cancer Institute and a recent report by the American Cancer Society conclude that scientific evidence does not support an increased risk of breast cancer due to use of antiperspirants and deodorants.
On the other hand, some scientists think that the following types of chemicals found in certain antiperspirants and deodorants may mimic the effects of the hormone, estrogen, in the body and, therefore, theoretically may raise the risk of breast cancer:[1-3]
ē Parabens, which are chemicals used as preservatives in certain antiperspirants and certain deodorants
ē Aluminum salts, which are the active ingredient present in most antiperspirants
As chemicals from antiperspirants and deodorants are applied to the skin of the underarm area, exposure to these chemicals is concentrated in an area close to the breasts.[1, 3] If antiperspirants or deodorants are applied after shaving the armpit area, a higher concentration of the chemicals may enter the body due to damaged areas of the skin.
1. S. Boyles. Antiperspirant: Link to breast cancer? WebMD Medical News. 2/28/06. Accessed at www.webmd.com.
2. P. Darbre et al. Journal of Applied Toxicology. 4/06.
3. R. Preidt. Could antiperspirants raise breast cancer risk?
HealthDay News. 3/6/06. Accessed at http://health.ivillage.com.