Deodorants & Breast Cancer – is there a link?

9 Dec

Photo Source: Unknown


I stumbled upon this gossip article at xin.msn on Celebrity Health Issues (click link for article).  Then at page 10 on Anastacia, it states that she suffered from breast cancer.

This made me recall that I read somewhere that our underarm deodorants contain ingredients that may lead to breast cancer / tumors.  Is it true?  Is this supported by any actual studies?

I myself have had 2 separate occasions where I had developed breast lumps.  Thank god they were benign & I am still able to sit here & type out this blog post with both my breasts intact.  I had the lumps removed thru 2 separate surgeries within a 3-year period, but the scars still remain after so many years has passed.  Woe is me.

I have been using deodorant ever since I reached puberty.  yeah yeah my armpits can get really stinky at times.  I used to get mine from the supermarket or the pharmacy.  Never really thought about checking the ingredients at that time.

Until one day, I was scratching this itchy spot on my left boob, then only I realized that omg there is something underneath.  It felt like the size of a green pea.  I immediately wasted no time in having it checked out.

After an uncomfortable mammogram, the doctor told me that there IS a tiny lump growing in my left boob & told me that it SHOULD be benign.  SHOULD be???  The doctor said that she THINKS that it would be ok to leave it there.  THINKS???  (-_-)  yeah right… she thinks, he thought, then who confirm?  I was given the option of leaving it there or removing it thru surgery.  Of course I chose to remove it.  What if it turns into cancer?

I am NOT being paranoid.  I have a friend who had a small 1cm radius lump in her right breast & the doctor said that it was most probably benign, so she left it alone.  After a year, it became cancerous & she had to remove her whole right breast.  She totally hates the doctor now.  *cross my heart*  True story.

After removing that 1st lump, I started to do regular checks on my own breasts.  3 years later, I discovered another lump closer to the armpit.  Also on the left breast.  =|  So again, I had to undergo surgery to remove it.

Oh, you want to hear something funny & gross at the same time?

If you have a wild imagination & will be easily traumatised, please DO NOT read any further!!!  Just scroll right down to the part where I have announced that it is safe to continue reading.  It is highlighted in blue.

Both lumps felt like the size of a green pea when I discovered them.  During the 1st surgery, they put me on local anesthesia.  So yeah, I was wide awake as I felt them tug & pull & slice into my left boob.  I think the surgery lasted about 30 mins.  At the end of the surgery, one of the doctors asked me, “Girl… you want to see the lump?“.  Of course I wanted to see it.  It’s a once in a lifetime kind of thing, you know.

When I saw the lump, the first thing that came to my mind was… … …

Wow, that’s not the size of a green pea…  looks more like the oyster in *orh lua (oyster omelette).




Amazing.  The lump was so smooth & round.

The 2nd surgery they knocked me out completely & did not show me the lump.  But I bet it looked the same as the 1st one.

… … ok, even I am feeling a little grossed out now.

I will never look at oysters the same way again.

Safe for Reading from here onwards:

ANYWAY, as I was saying, deodorants & breast cancer, are they linked somehow?

To have smelly armpits but healthy breasts?
Or to risk breast tumors but have armpits that smell of roses?



I visited the National Cancer Institute website on the association between deodorants & breast cancer.  Read the full article HERE.

To give a short summary, they are basically claiming that scientists came to the conclusion that aluminum & parabens that are found in underarm deodorants may be absorbed by the skin & cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects.  This estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells.  A study was done in year 2004, which found parabens present in tissue samples from human breast tumors.  However, the article went on to say that this study did not prove that the parabens are the cause of breast tumors & did not identify the source of parabens if it is due to the use of deodorants.

Just for your information:
Parabens can be identified by names, such as methylparaben / propylparaben / butylparaben / benzylparaben.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t parabens also part of the ingredients in our cosmetics & skincare products???


Parabens are used as preservatives so that our products do not go bad & can remain safe for our usage.  But then again, studies have shown that it can mimic estrogen in human bodies that may lead to cancer.

So… … should we be cautious about this?

Based on my own personal opinion, I feel that too much of a good thing is also not good.  It’s like, water is good for our bodies, but there are also news reports that state that drinking TOO MUCH can lead to water intoxication.

So the deal with parabens is that they are added into our products to prevent spoilage or fungal growth or other nasty stuff, but at the same time, it might be harmful to our bodies. 

Again, based on my own personal opinion, if I do use a product that contains parabens, I guess I will not mind if it is listed at the last of the ingredients.  And only if it is meant to be washed off immediately, like shampoos or cleansers.  Just not something that I will apply on my armpits as it will be left there for HOURS & I am already paranoid about breast lumps for now.  =\

I noticed that more & more natural/organic skincare products in our market are starting to replace parabens with natural preservatives, but there is also that question on whether these natural preservatives have a broad-spectrum coverage of microbes.

Sigh.  It’s always a double-edged sword in everything we choose to do (or use, in this matter).

Ever since my 2nd surgery & I started to do a little research on breast lumps which eventually led me to learn that there might be a link between deodorants & breast tumors, I have not been using a deodorant with parabens in it for a long time now.  And so far, no more breast lumps appeared.  *yay! touch wood*

In fact, a few years ago, I even attempted to make my own stick deodorant using shea butter, baking soda, cornstarch, vitamin E & some essential oils, etc.  hehehe…  It was rather effective & fun to make, but a little troublesome.  Perhaps I should start to DIY my own deodorant again?

I know I’m being a little too *kiasu (translated: overly cautious), but after undergoing 2 surgeries, I don’t think I want to take any more risks.

I mean, how much left boob am I left with if I were to go for a 3 rd surgery?



2 Responses to “Deodorants & Breast Cancer – is there a link?”

  1. Claris 9 December 2010 at 4:45 PM #

    i also removed 1 breast lump before. also heard that it may be due to my deodorant, so i never use it anymore but now have smelly underarms but no lumps anymore. dun kw if it is just coincidence or wat but i’m scared to use it now. what is the recipe for your self-made deodorant with the shea butter? can share????

    • Berry Mii 10 December 2010 at 8:17 AM #

      Hi Claris, I am also wondering if there is a link, but to be safe, I’ll avoid it. Better safe than sorry. There are always other natural deodorants out there w/o the so-called harmful ingredients. As for the recipe, it’s been a long time since I made one. I probably have to make another batch to refresh my memory. Once I figure it out, I’ll definitely post it up here. =)

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