When we talk with women about mammograms, breast cancer and antiperspirants, there are two main concerns.
The first concern is a common question: Do antiperspirants and deodorants cause cancer? No. There is no research with evidence of any cause linking those with the development of breast cancer. They are safe to use. (In fact, there’s been an internet rumor for almost longer than the internet has been around that they can cause Alzheimer’s. That’s false as well.)
The second concern is ours as radiologists: We ask women not to wear them the day of their annual mammogram. The reason is that most antiperspirants/deodorants contain some type of metal - often aluminum. Some lotions can also contain metals. These can show up on your mammogram and will look very similar to microcalcifications in your tissue.
We’ve covered microcalcifications before in this blog, because they are often benign. However, there are specific patterns we look for in microcalcifications that can be indicators of early cancers, like DCIS. So if you wear antiperspirants or deodorants, no worries, but we will have you remove any before we do your images.
So, our answer is yes! Antiperspirants and deodorants are safe, so use them any day without worry. Except for the day of your mammogram.
Originally published 8/6/13 on mammographykc.com.