THE ONLY VERSION OF THIS BOOK NOW IN PRINT & AVAILABLE
Breast cysts and cancer are epidemic at this time in history. The healthcare industry says that the cause of 70 percent of all breast cancer is unknown. Dressed to Kill helps solve this mystery, explaining how one of the greatest threats to breast health is something that women do to themselves every day. This book has its roots in a personal crisis in the authors’ lives, when Soma was shocked to find a lump in her breast while pregnant. Looking for clues regarding the cause of the lump led this husband-and-wife medical anthropology team to develop a new theory and to conduct an extensive survey of nearly 5,000 United States women, half of whom had breast cancer, in an attempt to uncover a hidden cause of this devastating disease.
Pioneers in the new field of Applied Medical Anthropology, Singer and Grismaijer explain their unique approach to researching and understanding the cultural causes of disease in easy-to-read language that is accessible to the layperson and professional alike. Dressed to Kill has already had an impact on the healthcare and fashion worlds, moving some doctors to rethink the prevention and treatment of breast disease, and some clothing designers to rethink their products. Controversial for its challenge to established custom and medical dogma, this breakthrough book is already a classic, and in this updated d edition, it continues to suggest new ways of dealing with an old and all-too-common women’s health issue.
|Publisher:||Square One Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Sydney Ross Singer is a medical anthropologist and codirector of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease. He received a BS in biology from University of Utah, after which heattended the PhD program in biochemistry at Duke University. He then transferred to Duke's anthropology department, from which he received his MA degree. He later attended the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston as an MD/PhD student, with PhD studies in medical humanities. In addition to being a highly sought-after speaker, Syd is also the author of several groundbreaking books on lifestyle-related health problems.
Soma Grismaijer was trained as an optician and an environmental planner and has an AA degree in behavioral science and a BA in environmental studies and planning. She and Syd are codirectors of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease. They are also codirectors of the Good Shepherd Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human, animal, and environmental health. Her other projects include protecting wildlife from the use of poisons, and finding a cause and cure for pet eye disease. Currently, Soma and Syd live on a rainforest preserve and animal sanctuary located on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Table of Contents
ContentsAcknowledgmentsForewordFrom the PublisherPrefaceIntroduction1. Looking for the Enemy2. Making the Connection3. Dressed to Kill4. The Big Picture5. Testing the Theory6. Taking It to the Street7. Beauty and the Bra8. To B or Not to B9. The Real Enemy10. The End of Breast CancerReferencesBibliographyAbout the AuthorsIndex
Introduction“Bras can cause breast cancer? You’re joking, right?” This, of course, would be the usual response. As apparel designed to enhance a woman’s bustline, bras seem the least likely candidate for a cause of breast cancer that you could imagine. They make you think about sexy models, not about mastectomy. They create cleavage, not cancer. Right? As you shall learn, bras are more than objects of fashion. They transform more than just appearance.Many women consider their breasts to be one of the most important features of their bodies. This bias is no doubt emphasized by our society’s preoccupation with breasts. Styles of women’s clothing, from underwear to nightgowns to bathing suits to business suits, focus on breasts and the bustline. Breasts are truly an American obsession. Ironically, this obsession may be a root cause of cancer.The search for a breast cancer cause is a frantic one. Thousands of people spend their entire professional lives working on this one problem, and typically on one small aspect of this problem. Thousands of pages of research results on breast cancer are generated annually, yet little information has provided any hope for the prevention or cure of this dreaded disease. Are all these great scientific minds barking up the wrong tree?Breast cancer incidence is higher now than ever before in history. This disease is now spreading worldwide, with no end in sight. And despite the discovery of certain risk factors for the disease, the research community admits it is just as much in the dark regarding the causality as it was fifty years ago. Many researchers, such as breast cancer epidemiologists Dr. Jennifer Kelsey and Dr. Marilie Gammon of the Columbia University School of Public Health, are calling for a new approach to the problem, a fresh perspective.But bras? How can they be the cause of breast cancer?Few things are what they seem on the surface. By the time you finish this book, we hope to have changed the way you look at the usage of bras and other lifestyle choices. This book is based on hard evidence, evidence that comes from medical research performed by others in the breast cancer field. It also comes from what we have termed the Bra and Breast Cancer (BBC) Study, which we conducted to discover the attitudes, values, and behaviors of American women regarding their breasts and bras. As you will see, the way in which women feel and act toward their breasts and bras has a great deal to do with their development of breast cancer.Of course, at the beginning of any good study there must be a theory. We arrived at our theorythat breast cancer may be triggered by the wearing of brasby connecting previously disconnected facts. The field of cancer research is so overloaded with details and information that connecting the pieces seemed impossible at first. But, as you shall see, all the pieces have been connected, and the theory has obvious merit. When we tested it, our findings were astounding. The connection between bras and breast cancer proved greater than our original expectations. And the implications of our research go far beyond breast cancer.Perhaps the greatest challenge facing any researcher is the need to keep an open mind. We cannot hope to unravel the mysteries of our time when confronted with the biases of our time. Indeed, mysteries exist because we have been taught ways of seeing the world that are necessarily limited by our cultural perspective. It is our own ignorance and lack of vision that create mysteriesand epidemics like breast cancer.To put this in perspective, we will use an example from medical history. During the eighteenth century and part of the nineteenth century, countless women and their newborn children died from childbed fever throughout parts of Europe. This epidemic, which claimed the lives of nearly 50 percent of women who delivered their babies in certain hospitals, was a mystery to the great medical minds of the time. In attempts to explain the cause of these deaths, theories multiplied for over a century, many reflecting deep, complex thought and elaborate medical reasoning. However, the solution, as history has shown, was simple, not complex: Physicians were not washing their hands between patients or after handling dead, diseased bodies. As unwitting transmitters, doctors spread disease throughout the maternity wards of the newest hospitals of the time.No different than most other people of that era, physicians were ignorant of the connection between cleanliness and health. It would seem that even the experts of the day are often limited by the biases of their culture. Simple solutions sometimes underlie seemingly complex problems and are usually related to the implicit habits and customs of the time. The challenge of any era in addressing an illness that plagues society is to examine the problem from an impartial, objective perspective. But impartiality is as elusive as truth itself.We are all subjectsand victimsof our time and our perspective in history. Truth, or our perception of it, is a function of our limited, culture-bound understanding, and is often as fluid as a change in custom. The problems this poses for medical research are ongoing, but, as you shall see, are occasionally surmountable. The best we can hope to do is rise above our culture as much as possible to see our biases, challenge them, and willingly allow our view of the world to shatter as these biases knuckle under the blows of scrutiny.What is it about the lifestyle or culture of certain nations today that makes breast cancer a major disease for its women? As we attempt to answer this question, we will be challenging the reader to look at the assumptions and basic behaviors that mold and define everyday life for most Americans and other first-world citizens. As the pillars of culture are shaken, there may be a tendency to reject the question as irrelevant or too simple. This is to be expected. Who wants to see the very fabric of his or her culture stretched to such a degree of examination? Yet we must all get past this denial if there is to be any meaningful advance made in the understanding of culture-caused, or culturogenic, diseases. Like a skilled surgeon, we must dissect those aspects of culture that work against our health, and which can shed light on the mystery of breast cancer.You will learn that the cultural assumption we must question pertains to fashionspecifically, to the idea that wearing bras has no effect on health. Bras are so accepted by modern Western societies that questioning their impact on the health of breast tissue sounds ludicrous. But, as will be evident, this question makes good sense medically and is borne out by the results of a study we conducted on women in the United States, and by other studies that have followed-up on our research.We have done our best to make the contents of this book understandable to everyone interested in the topic. We have avoided medical jargon as much as possible so that the reader need not have a medical education to understand the information presented. All that is required is an open mind and a willingness to examine the evidence.