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Breast cancer and deodorant use not related

Jessica Gerbes, Nursing Student Intern and Molly Vetter-Smith, MPH, MEd, RD, State Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension


Sometimes it’s easy to believe some of the sensational news and Internet stories about health issues. For example, some people have heard that underarm deodorant (also known as antiperspirant) products cause cancer. The good news is that overall research shows deodorants do not cause breast cancer. Studies show chemicals used in deodorants may act like the hormone estrogen, but there is no concrete evidence that shows deodorant use causes breast cancer.


The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the nation’s chief cancer research agency, is not aware of any evidence that connects using deodorants and developing breast cancer. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food, cosmetics, medicines and medical devices, has no evidence that ingredients in deodorants cause cancer.


A 2006 study on deodorant use and how often people get breast cancer found that among the 54 women with breast cancer and 50 women without, deodorant use was not related to breast cancer rates. This research did find that a family history of breast cancer and use of birth control pills increased the risk of getting breast cancer.


For information about the factors known to increase breast cancer risk, call the Cancer Information Service (CIS) at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or visit the NCI website at The CIS is a program of the National Cancer Institute and Ask the CIS is distributed by the Cancer Information Service (CIS) of the Heartland, which serves Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois. Women who are concerned about their breast cancer risk should talk with a doctor.


This article was adapted from information provided by the National Cancer Institute’s Heartland Cancer Information Service.


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Last Updated 08/20/2010