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Do antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

It has not been proven that antiperspirants/deodorants or the ingredients in them can cause breast cancer. This possibility was raised by a 2003 study showing that among women with breast cancer, those who started shaving their underarms and using antiperspirant or deodorant before they were 16 years old - or who practice these habits more frequently - were diagnosed at an earlier age than other women.

The idea is that aluminum and parabens, two substances found in some antiperspirants, imitate the hormone estrogen, which can boost cancer cell growth. However, most antiperspirants and deodorants sold in the United States do not include parabens, and other studies have found no link between shaving or antiperspirant/deodorant use and breast cancer.

At least one study suggests that parabens show up in trace amounts in breast cancer tumors. However, parabens are also a naturally occurring chemical, and there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other that using products containing parabens leads to cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.