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A bra (short for brassiereWikipedia's W.svg) is underwear that provides support and comfort for breasts. In the West, a predecessor garment to the bra originated in the 16th century in the form of a corset.Wikipedia's W.svg Unlike its predecessor, bras serve no medical purpose and are merely a piece of clothing for comfort.


Brassieres' purposes are the following:

  1. Bras "enhance" the shape of breasts, giving them a more defined appeance.[1]
  2. Athletes use sports bras to minimize breast movement because breasts do get in the way and become a nuisance with a lot of movement.[2]

Cancer scare[edit]

Written by husband and wife, the book Dressed to Kill asserts the hypothesis that bras cause cancer. This conclusion was reached through a variety of unscientific methods. According to the American Cancer Society, "Their study was not conducted according to standard principles of epidemiological research and did not take into consideration other variables, including known risk factors for breast cancer."[3]

Other books such as The Prevention and Complementary Treatment of Breast Cancer and The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart claim that bras block lymphatic drainage therefore preventing toxins from leaving the body which therefore can lead to cancer.[3][4] This is presumably wrong.[5]

Breast sagging[edit]

A bra will hold up your breasts to give you the shape and look you want, but it can’t prevent further sagging, which is caused by age and gravity.
—Dr. Mills[6]

Despite dating as far back as the ancient Romans[7], the common belief that ptosisWikipedia's W.svg (breasts sagging) can be prevented with bra use is not supported by any scientific evidence;[6][8] the only exception to this is sports brasWikipedia's W.svg. Breast ptosis is a natural aging process[9] that is caused by a loss of skin elasticity, gravity, and intensive exercise; sports bras slow down ptosis because it reduces the stress and movement on breasts by limiting movement.

Contrary to previous belief,[2] a study demonstrates that compression sports bra are less effective than encapsulation sports bras, bras that are specially molded for the individual. Compression sports bras reduce movement in one plane while encapsulation sports bras reduce it in three.[10]


The corset: "Fashion Before Ease"

Bras are widely used in modern day with the belief of providing comfort and support; however, wearing a bra can be uncomfortable and cause shoulder pain.[11][12] Widespread bra usage is out of the false assumption of necessity because of social and advertising pressures.[13][14] Bras have no medical purpose whatsoever,[15] their sole purpose being comfort for the individual, and according to a study conducted by Jean-Denis Rouillon on three hundred woman, it's not even necessary for that:[13]

[W]omen who didn't wear bras eventually developed muscles in their chest to act as natural support. In the women who wore bras, the support they provided was found to actually PREVENT muscles like these from growing.


  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bras and Breast Cancer American Cancer Society
  6. 6.0 6.1
  7. Olson, "The Appearance of the Young Roman Girl," p. 143.
  9. "The 'Purpose' of the Bra" By Ken L. Smith Updated July 2015
  10. Scurr, Joanna C.; White, Jennifer L.; Hedger, Wendy (2010). "The effect of breast support on the kinematics of the breast during the running gait cycle". Journal of Sports Sciences 28 (10): 1103–9. PMID 20686995. Lay summary – ScienceDaily (September 23, 2007). 
  13. 13.0 13.1
  14. "Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book" by Susan M. Love, M.D.
  15. "The Complete Book Of Breast Care" by Niels H. Lauersen, M.D., Ph.D., & Eileen Stukane