My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts
Day 59: Does deodorant increase the risk of breast cancer
The question does deodorant (or underarm protection in general) increase the risk of breast cancer has been going around for years. The breast cancer foundation says no, that no evidence has been found, yet other sources do state that deodorant can lead to breast cancer due to the fact that the aluminum in deodorant raises the estrogen in the body. For most women, present company included, it’s an excess of estrogen that causes breast cancer.
From dontmesswithmama.com I plucked this piece of information:
Aluminum is the ingredient in antiperspirants that actually clogs your pores and prevents sweating. Aluminum exposure has been linked with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and interferes with your estrogen levels. When your body can’t process estrogen properly, there’s a higher risk for breast and prostate cancer.
You can read more on the subject at:
The Dangers of Aluminum
On the subject of aluminum I’m not going to say one word but rather let the experts of the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health speak:
Aluminum salts are used as the active antiperspirant agent in underarm cosmetics, but the effects of widespread, long term and increasing use remain unknown, especially in relation to the breast, which is a local area of application.
Clinical studies showing a disproportionately high incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast together with reports of genomic instability in outer quadrants of the breast provide supporting evidence for a role for locally applied cosmetic chemicals in the development of breast cancer.
Aluminum is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer if such effects occurred in breast cells.
Estrogen is a well established influence in breast cancer and its action, dependent on intracellular receptors which function as ligand-activated zinc finger transcription factors, suggests one possible point of interference from aluminum.
Results reported here demonstrate that aluminum in the form of aluminum chloride or aluminum chlorhydrate can interfere with the function of estrogen receptors of MCF7 human breast cancer cells both in terms of ligand binding and in terms of estrogen-regulated reporter gene expression.
This adds aluminum to the increasing list of metals capable of interfering with estrogen action and termed metallestrogens. Further studies are now needed to identify the molecular basis of this action, the longer term effects of aluminum exposure and whether aluminum can cause aberrations to other signaling pathways in breast cells.
Given the wide exposure of the human population to antiperspirants, it will be important to establish dermal absorption in the local area of the breast and whether long term low level absorption could play a role in the increasing incidence of breast cancer.
Now, who would you rather believe? The breast cancer foundation who claims that there is no link between aluminum and breast cancer, or other sources that state that aluminum most definitely has an effect on estrogen and as such can cause breast cancer since breast cancer is linked to estrogen.
Personally, I rather don’t take the chance. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.
If you cannot do without some form of underarm protection, you might want to look at Ombra, a deodorant manufacturer that uses only natural ingredients in their products and does not include aluminum chlorohydrate.
Other natural forms of protection include baking soda, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol, or making your own. You can read more on the subject at Mother Nature Network at