MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: How does anti-perspirant work? Does it have any ill effects?

Date: Mon Nov 1 00:51:21 1999
Posted By: Mike Crawford, MadSci Admin
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 940878563.Me

Those rumors are false.  Here is some information about this from experts. 
Headline From
E-mail Rumor Inaccurately Links Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer 

An e-mail message that has been broadly circulated recently states that the use of antiperspirants is the leading cause
of breast cancer. This is an inaccurate statement that is causing alarm for many women. Apparently, some people
think that perspiration is a way for the body to rid itself of "toxins." In reality, perspiration is a mechanism to regulate
body temperature. The fluid we call "sweat" does not contain any toxins. It contains natural bodily wastes like
water, urea, salt and fatty substances. Preventing perspiration under the arms does not affect the body's ability to
eliminate these wastes, as they can be eliminated through other areas of the body such as the soles of the feet and
hands and most other body surfaces.

Extensive research has been done on the risk factors associated with developing breast cancer, none of which have been
linked to the use of antiperspirants.  Research does show that the two most significant risk factors for developing
breast cancer are being female and getting older.  A woman may be at an even higher risk if she has experienced any of
the following:

A personal history of breast or ovarian cancer. 
A close relative who has had breast cancer before menopause or in both breasts. 
Menstruation starting at an early age (before 12) 
Late menopause (after 55) 
The birth of a first child after the age of 30 or not having children at all 
A previous breast biopsy showing abnormal cells, such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia

Early detection and treatment offer the best chance currently available for surviving breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Breast
Cancer Foundation recommends the following steps:
Annual screening mammography beginning by age 40 and continuing throughout your life. 
Clinical breast examination at least every 3 years beginning at age 20 and annually after age 40. 
Monthly breast self-examination beginning by age 20.

>>>There is an occasion where the NO anti-perspirant  IS useful when pertaining to breast cancer screening.


How to Get the Best Mammogram 

 Q: When I scheduled my last mammogram, the receptionist told me not to put on antiperspirant before the test. Why?

 A: All antiperspirants contain metals, such as aluminum, which are easily mistaken on a mammogram for suspicious
 calcium deposits that may be a sign of cancer, says Daniel B. Kopans, M.D., director of the Breast Imaging Division at
 Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.

  In fact, lotions, oils, or powders also may contain metallic compounds that will show up as calcium deposits, so to be sure
that nothing will interfere with how the radiologist reads your mammogram, Dr. Kopans advises that you not use any of these
near your breasts.

  In addition, women with large breasts who use zinc oxide to treat chronic irritation should be aware that it can interfere with
a mammographic reading, too, he says.

Hope this info helps!

Michael Crawford

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