Antiperspirants Linked To Prostate And Breast Cancer Risk
Breast cancer and Prostate cancer have a lot in common; for example, both cancers are associated with a hormonal cause, both cancers are responsive to hormone deprivation therapies and both cancers are usually managed by their respective hormonal manipulation regimens. It is also important to understand that breast cancer and prostate cancer are the most frequently reported cancers in females and males respectively. There are a number of other similarities as well; for example, the risk of occurrence as well as severity of disease is more aggressive in African- American race when compared to other races.
Fortunately, the world has seen some reduction in the incidence of breast cancer over the course of last decade; especially after a reduction in the prescription and use of hormone replacement therapy after the publication of Woman’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002. On the contrary, the incidence of prostate cancer has increased due to aggressive use of hormone (testosterone) replacement therapies in men. It is safe to conclude that intentional or unintentional; direct or indirect exposure to hormones can also lead to an increased risk of developing breast and prostate cancers.
Antiperspirants And Prostate/ Breast Cancer – What Is The Association?
As discussed previously, hormonal exposure can make you more prone to develop prostate and breast malignancy. This also include some uncommon or rather overlooked sources of hormones such as pheromones or other cutaneous sources such as sweat glands that produces estrogen, estradiol, estrone, androstenedione, testosterone and other hormones. The secretion of these hormones increases when you exert, get stressed out or get stimulated/ emotional along with sweat secretion. In turn, these secretions are expelled out from the apocrine glands to the skin surface; causing no complications.
Generally odorless sweat may produce a peculiar odor after cross-reacting with the bacterial agents present on yourskin. It is no surprise that antiperspirants industry is huge (estimating to be roughly $10 billion in size) and is growing by every day; but according to a new study, use of antiperspirants can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. In fact, it may surprise you that antiperspirants are classified as drugs by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as these agents exert their action by changing the biological functions of the body (especially sweat glands).
Here is how these drugs aggravate the risk of developing malignancy.
- Once applied, antiperspirants reduce the flow or secretion of sweat glands.
- This leads to accumulation and stagnation of hormones in the sweat glands
- Excessive concentration of hormones in the system leads to deleterious effects
That’s why antiperspirants are also referred to as endocrine or hormonal disrupters by Environmental Protection Agency of United States. Here are some risk factors that may explain the risk profile.
- Pheromones or hormones have optimal molecular weight which makes them a great agent for absorption through skin.
- All major tissues and glands have receptors for these hormones.
- African-Americans have largest and more developed sweat glands compared to Caucasians and Asians; hence antiperspirant use is more strongly associated with an aggravated risk of malignancy.
- More frequent use or early use is associated with an aggravated risk
There is enough theoretical evidence to back the association of antiperspirant use with an increased risk of developing prostate and breast cancer; yet investigators believe that more evidence-based research is needed to establish a connection.
- Donavan M, Tiwary CM, Axelrod D, et al. Personal care products that contain estrogens or xenoestrogens may increase breast cancer risk. Med Hypotheses 2007; 68: 756-766.
- Chen W, Thiboutot D, Zouboulis CC. Cutaneous androgen metabolism: Basic research and clinical perspectives. J Invest Dermatol 2002; 119: 992-1007. 7 – Rittmaster RS. Androgen conjugates: Physiology and clinical significance. Endocr Rev 1993; 14(1): 121-132.