I have been working in the cancer field for almost ten years now. I have heard a lot of myths or rumors, and this is yet another one. There is nothing scientifically shown nor is there any data driven studies done that have proved aluminum or anything in deodorants to cause cancer, let alone breast cancer.
We all have to remember that in order for a product to be placed on the market, it must first undergo rigorous testing and then FDA approval. That being said, there is no mechanism in any of the ingredients in deodorants that can cause cellular damage.
In order for cancer to form, there has to be a mechanism that causes a cellular change, or a mutation. It has to turn off the cells control center for dividing. There is nothing, including aluminum phosphates in deodorant that can lead to this change in a cells structure.
There is also some more speculation in a article that was published in relation to an ingredient in anti-perspirants called paraben. (Article) What researchers did was take tissue samples from several women that had breast cancer and analyzed them. In those tissues they found trace amounts of this substance called paraben. That being said, there has been no study that has linked the use of anti-perspirants with causing cancer.
Also in this article they talk about the likely hood of having a small cut or abrasion under the arm from shaving. This is the mechanism in which they are guessing that aluminum or paraben gets introduced into the body and our system. It was sited in the article that this is how the chemicals get into the lymphatic system. Since the lymphatics are connected to the breasts through the axilla, then this is how breast cancer can be initiated.
I want to explain one piece of information that they forget to tell you about, and that is the lymphatic system itself. The lymphatics are a system that is close to the blood or circulatory system in our bodies. It is used to carry gases, water, and chemicals to nourish our cells in the blood system. It is also used to transport waste products out of our cells as well. You can think of the lymphatics as a strainer for our blood.
The Lymphatic System plays a vital part in the role in protecting the body from infection. Lymph is serous fluid that diffuses through the capillary walls; it collects in tiny lymph vessels that permeate the breast tissue and carries away dead cells and other particles. The lymph vessels feed into lymph glands or nodes, which filter out foreign substances and return the lymph to the blood. (See Figure)
In the breast, there are three groups of lymph vessels that drain centrifugally away from the nipple: lateral, medial and inferior. Primary lymphatic drainage (75%) is via the outer, lateral vessels to the axillary nodes in the armpit. There are 10 to 30 axillary nodes in a number of clusters (1-6). The medial vessels lead to the parasternal, or internal mammary nodes (7) and then to the supraclavicular nodes (8). The inferior vessels reach the infraclavicular nodes and the lymphatic system of the opposite breast.
Now we have all heard of a breast cancer patient having a lymph node removed in order to prevent the spread of cancer. Typically this is done when the cancer is larger in size, is a bit more aggressive, and is located close to a lymph node or has already moved to another area in the body. The lymphatics can transport a cluster of cancer cells to other areas and cause spread.
However, the lymphatic system flows in one direction and not back and forth. Same as our circulatory system. There is NO, and I repeat, NO possible way for something to be introduced into under our arm and then travel to our breast, get lodged in breast tissue, cause a cell damage, and then lead to breast cancer. Our bodies and the lymphatic system just does not work or flow in this direction. Remember a breast cancer starts in the breast and then travels to another area through the lymphatics. (see figure below)
It does NOT start in the lymphatics and then travel back to the breast and cause breast cancer.
I hope this sheds some light on this myth for everyone. Its basically people trying to play on our fears of cancer and trying to sell or hype some other kind of product that they may have a financial interest in. In the event that you develop a rash under your arm, you may be allergic to one of the ingredients, but it still will not cause or lead to cancer.
Remeber, there are a lot of myths out there that play on our fears. I am here to offer HOPE.
As always, if you or a loved one have any other questions, comments, or concerns; if you would like more information in regards to another cancer related topic, please contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or CANCERGEEK@CANCERGEEK.COM