For the average man, voluminous breasts are a turn-on. That men drool over breasts is an open secret; and in these days of half-nude dressing styles that tend to favour the baring of the bosom, things can only get as far as people want.
Some women, too, knowing the wonders that largish breasts can do to men, go all out to put them on display. No wonder that men even lament that they are being sexually frustrated by these unguarded exposures.
But beyond the social implications of possessing killer breasts, there are health downsides that should be of concern to any woman who has ample mammary glands. Without meaning to raise the alarm, experts are warning that there are some breast sizes that you can’t possess and simply carry on as if the whole world could wait.
Of course, every woman has the responsibility of caring for her breasts, especially after hitting the magical age 40. But much more, those who have sizeable breasts — medically referred to as macromastia — must do more. This is because researchers warn that women with hefty breasts are at an increased risk of advanced breast cancer.
A research presented at the International Seminars in Surgical Oncology note that “It is hypothesised that women with large breasts are more likely to have node positive disease mainly attributable to their breast size.”
The researchers, led by Chaminda Sellahewa of the Department of Surgery, Russells Hall Hospital in the United Kingdom, say a study of 120 women for primary breast cancers in a large Teaching Hospital within a one-year period reveals that “big breasted women (those patients with mastectomy weight greater than 800g) had a significantly greater tumour size than those with smaller breasts.”
The scientists lament that women with large breasts have more advanced stage of disease at presentation, noting that “the larger breasts of obese women may make it difficult to detect early disease by palpation (medical examination by touching).”
They also suggest that “women with large breasts may develop lymph node metastasis at a smaller size of primary breast cancer than those with smaller breast because of altered host responses.”
In simple terms, physicians say, what this translates into is that cancer can start from the lymph nodes and spread to other parts of the body — including the breasts.
Type 2 diabetes risk
In a study entitled ‘Breast size and risk of Type-2 diabetes mellitus’ published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers assessed the prospective risk of developing Type-2 diabetes according to bra cup size among a sample of over 92,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II.
The average age of the women at the start of the study was 38 years. During the 10-year follow up, a total of 1,844 women developed Type-2 diabetes.
After taking into consideration numerous established risk factors such as physical activity, smoking, diet, family history of diabetes, body mass index and waist circumference, among others, it was shown that in a graded fashion, the bigger the bra cup size, the greater the risk of developing diabetes.
Exposure to pollution
The online portal, medicaldaily.com, reports that when a woman has large breasts, she’s at a greater risk of pollution exposure.
It warns, “Bigger breasts also put women at a greater exposure for pollutants because the body stores toxic chemicals in fatty tissue. Therefore, the bigger the cup size, the greater concentration of fatty tissue to store chemicals like mercury and Polychlorinated biphenyls” — an oily, odourless and tasteless industrial chemical used in pesticides and paint.
Worse still, scientists warn that PCBs have been shown to both inhibit and mimic estradiol — the predominant sex hormone present in females; and research has revealed that the imitation of the estrogen compound supports the development of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells, uterine and cervical cancer cells.
Poisoned breast milk
It’s not the large-breasted woman alone that suffers the consequences of chemical deposit; if she’s a nursing mother, her baby will be affected.
The experts at Medical Daily enthuse, “To make matters worse, the more these chemicals are stored in the breast tissue, the more likely they are to be transferred into a woman’s breast milk and passed along to her newborn children.”
To drive home this point, a writer, Florence Williams, in her book entitled, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, bemoans, “What happens in our environment is reflected in our breasts. Breast-feeding is a very efficient way to transfer our society’s industrial flotsam to the next generation. Our breasts soak up pollution. Breasts carry the burden of the mistakes we have made.”
In general, the experts express concern that many man-made toxins “will remain in our bodies and in our children’s bodies for long enough, such that today’s baby girls will transmit the toxins to their own children.”
Physicians say all women will complain of backaches at some point in their lives. However, for those with big breasts, it is tantamount to hulking a heavy backpack all over the place. At least that’s the testimony of heavily endowed Nollywood actress, Cossy Orjiakor, in an interview with this newspaper.
Experts agree with this confession, saying those who have disproportionately large breasts often experience chronic or long-lasting pain that affects their quality of life. The suspected culprit here is the use of ill-fitting bra.
“Ill-fitting bras do not support breasts properly, leading to shoulder grooves, which in turn leads to neck pain, which can bring on headaches and migraines. It’s a vicious cycle of painful health problems,” online portal, Medline Plus, says.
Dermatologists say a woman with large, pendulous breasts can experience yeast infection, skin rashes and skin irritation under the breasts because the area is almost always wet. The situation is worse during a warm, humid weather, experts say.