Book Review: Dressed to Kill Second Edition: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras

Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer have provided a whole book full of reasons that caused me to question my bra wearing habit. In “Dressed to Kill”, we learn about Soma’s experience finding a lump in her breast while she was pregnant. Then we learn that she was able to reduce her lump by not wearing a bra anymore and massaging her breasts. What?!? This seems too simple. It was also perplexing to Syd and Soma. So with true scientific curiosity, they developed a research study to examine the topic of bras and breast health.

After interviewing thousands of women, they discovered a fascinating correlation. Women who had a personal history of breast cancer tended to spend more time in bras (sometimes even sleeping in them). Meanwhile, women who had not been diagnosed with breast cancer tended to spend much less time in their bras (sometimes not wearing one at all). Syd and Soma further studied the bra wearing habits across multiple cultures around the world. Again they found a remarkable correlation that societies with higher rates of breast cancer also had this bra-wearing habit.

Applying my personal reliability tests to this body of research, I see that these authors have studied this topic over twenty years. (“Dressed to Kill” was first published in 1995, then a second edition was released in 2017.) Soma also has direct experience with her own breast issue, which is a plus. Finally, there is the question of financial interest. One possibility is that this husband-wife team is publicizing this theory only to sell more books. The amount of public attacks and ridicule this couple has received for their theories is what is actually most convincing of their sincerity. There are much less painful ways to make a buck. And authors make very little money directly from book sales, especially when taking into account the copious amounts of time invested to properly research a non-fiction title.

If you would like to peruse a summary of this theory, here is a link to Sydney Ross Singer's article on How Bras Cause Lymph Stasis and Breast Cancer. It is important to note that this is still a working theory and research is on-going to provide supporting evidence.

For me, there are some logical anatomical and physiological reasons that bras could be involved in breast disease. But in the end, it was not until I had completed my own personal experiment of not wearing a bra that I was truly convinced that this theory made sense for my breasts. I am the only person that I need to convince. I then share my experience with others and see what personal data they add to my ongoing research. I have had multiple women report to me that their breasts are happier without their bras. They have less pain and bumpiness, and they can actually breathe better.

I highly recommend this book. I read the first edition in 2009, which was published in 1995. The second edition (published 2017) has even more compelling, up-to-date evidence that bras are not healthy. I particularly appreciate the section on bra-free fashion tips. If you are interested in trying your own bra-free experiment, you can join our bra-free challenge and get 10 healhty breast practices to help you spend less time in restrictive bras.

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