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Q&A: Does deodorant increase breast cancer risk?

Consumer Reports News: April 26, 2010 10:28 AM

I’ve heard that using antiperspirants or deodorants increases your risk of breast cancer. Is that true? —R.S., Salem, S.C.

It seems unlikely. Aluminum, a sweat-stopping ingredient in antiperspirants, has caused cell mutations in test-tube and animal studies. And parabens, chemicals in antiperspirants, deodorants, and many other personal-care products, may mimic the hormone estrogen, which fuels breast-cancer growth. One small study found parabens in some human breast-cancer tumors. Another study found that breast-cancer survivors who had used antiperspirants or deodorants more often or earlier in life tended to develop the malignancy at an earlier age. But both of those human studies had major flaws. And a larger study of healthy women found no increased risk of developing the cancer in heavy users of underarm products.

Research has similarly failed to link underarm shaving, which theoretically might increase the absorption of the suspect chemicals, with any elevated risk. So while the available research doesn’t provide definitive answers, there’s probably not enough evidence to warrant concern.

Take a look at some  factors that can increase your risk of breast cancer , and read about soy and breast cancer risk .

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