Lifestyle Works

Armpit Shaving and
Breast Cancer

Shaving before applying underarm antiperspirants can increase aluminum absorption. Could this explain the greater number of tumors and the disproportionate incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast near the armpit?

Is it possible that the increasing use of underarm antiperspirant which parallels breast cancer incidence could also be an explanation for the greater number of ductal tumors...and disproportionate incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast near the site where stick, spray, or roll-on is applied?

There is a free-flow of lymph fluid back and forth between the breast and the armpit. If you measure aluminum levels in breasts removed during mastectomies, the aluminum content of breast tissue in the outer regions (near the armpits) is significantly higher, persumably due to the proximity to the underarm area.

This is a concern because in a petri dish at least, it has been demonstrated that aluminum is a so-called metalloestrogen, having pro-estrogenic effects on breast cancer cells. Long-term exposure of normal breast tissue cells in a test tube to aluminum concentrations in the range of those found in breasts, results in precancerous-type changes.

But what does shaving have to do with it all? Shaving removes more than just armpit hair. It also removes armpit skin; you end up shaving off the top skin layer. And while there is very little aluminum absorption through intact skin, when you strip off the outer layer with a razor and then rub antiperspirant, you get a six-fold increase of aluminum absorption through the skin.

Recently, it was shown that women with breast cancer have twice the level of aluminum in their breasts compared with women without breast cancer, though this doesn’t prove cause to effect.

The latest review on the subject concluded that as a consequence of new data, aluminum can be toxic and we have no need for it. Reducing the concentration of this metal in antiperspirants is a matter of urgency, or at the very least the label should warn, “Do not use after shaving.”

We get so much aluminum in our diet from processed foods - such as anti-caking agents in pancake mix, melting agents in cheese, meat binders, gravy thickeners, baking powder and sweets - that the contribution from underarm antiperspirants would presumably be minimal in comparison. But everything changed in 2004 when a case was reported of a woman with bone pain and fatigue suffering from aluminum toxicity. Within months of stopping the antiperspirant, which she had been applying daily to her regularly shaved armpits, her aluminum levels came down and her symptoms resolved. Although not everyone absorbs that much aluminum, the case suggests that caution should be exercised when using aluminum-containing antiperspirants frequently.

Of course, we could cease usage of aluminum-containing antiperspirants altogether, but then wouldn’t we smell? Ironically, antiperspirants can make us stink worse. They increase the types of bacteria that cause body odor... The more we use antiperspirants, the more we may need them, which is awfully convenient for a billion-dollar industry!    — Michael Greger MD, FACLM, August 4,2020

Recipe of the Month

Carob-Coated Nuts

1 c nuts*
1 c  Carob Tahini Spread                

To make Tahini Spread;
1 c tahini                  ½ c liquid honey
2 T carob powder       1 t vanilla
Mix all together well. Keeps for a long time.

To coat nuts, take a nut and about ½ a teaspoon of Carob Tahini spread, and coat the nut with the spread. Continue to do this until all the nuts are coated. Put coated nuts onto a flat tray and put into the refrigerator until cold. When set, put into a container and continue to store in the refrigerator.

Note:* Use a mixture of almond, brazil, hazel, macadamia, peanut, cashew or walnuts. Nuts may be natural or roasted, except for peanuts which must be roasted.

Variation: Place carob coated nuts on oven tray and fan bake for 30 minutes at 125° C.
This will dry them out and stop them from sticking to one another. —What’s Cooking, p.46,115