Singer and Grismaijer claim seventy percent of breast cancer cases are unexplainable by current [as of 1995] known risk factors. In addition, the authors claim that breast cancer is only a problem in cultures where women wear bras; in bra-free cultures, breast cancer is a rare event. Their 1991-93 Bra and Breast Cancer Study, discussed in Dressed To Kill, found that women who wear a bra 24 hours a day are 125 times more likely to have breast cancer than women who are bra-free. Their study also claims that bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men.
Singer and Grismaijer claim to have noticed that the Māori of New Zealand, who are integrated into white culture and therefore wear bras, have the same rate of breast cancer, while the aboriginals of Australia, who are bra-free, have practically no breast cancer. The same was true for “Westernized” Japanese, Fijians and other bra-converted cultures. Breast cancer rates rise in these cultures as the usage of bras increases.
Singer and Grismaijer's 1991-93 Bra and Breast Cancer Study examined the bra wearing attitudes and behaviors of over 4,700 US women in 5 major cities. They claim about half of the women questioned had had breast cancer. Women who had had breast cancer were asked about their bra wearing habits prior to their diagnosis of cancer. Their study, which they claim was a medical anthropology study and not an epidemiological one, was meant to be an initial examination of a possible bra/cancer link. Although they did not adhere to any scientific protocols for a medical study, the authors hoped that the medical industry would follow-up with further research to either verify or refute their findings. Their study findings were:
These findings were first sent to various entities in the medical industry, cancer organizations, and women's groups, but were completely ignored. The authors then published "Dressed to Kill" to get the information directly to the public. The book generated controversy which the authors attributed the greed of the fashion and medical industries: "The bra industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. And billions of dollars are spent each year researching and treating this disease. Ironically, ending breast cancer can cause financial hardship for many people." In another rebuttal to critics of their work, they claim the mainstream medical organizations all denied the link between smoking and lung cancer for decades after the initial research was published.
Singer and Grismaijer also felt that bra-related illnesses, as part of fashion and culture, were a "culturogenic" disease.
Soma Grismaijer holds a bachelor's degree in environmental studies and planning. She was trained as an optician (a healthcare worker who fits eyeglasses and contact lenses), and is not licensed in their home state of Hawaii.
After self-publishing Dressed to Kill, they wrote another book about the dangers of wearing bras and several other books, in which they argue that sleeping on a tilted bed can prevent everything from Alzheimer's disease to impotence; that defecating, urinating and sweating more frequently and more copiously can prevent many conditions such as prostate enlargement and the symptoms associated with menopause; and, in The Doctor Is Out! Exposing the High Blood Pressure, Low Thyroid and Diabetes Scams, even that these three lifestyle changes can prevent high blood pressure, low thyroid conditions, and diabetes. This last book also argues that physicians overlook these solutions at least in part because they do not earn any money from a healthy patient.
They founded the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease in 1991. All of their books are self-published through ISCD Press.
They live in Hawaii, on a 67-acre rainforest area that they have set up as a sanctuary for the invasive, non-native coqui tree frog species. Their current focus is on the dangers of sleeping on a horizontal surface.
One specific critique of the their book by Martha Molete of the Cancer Association of South Africa claims that the research "cannot be taken seriously" for the following reasons:
Importantly, none of the authors' surveys have attempted to account for any of the well-known epidemiological risk factors for breast cancer, such as number of full-term pregnancies, age at first pregnancy, obesity, Western pattern diet, or use of medications such as hormone replacement therapy. Per Molete "the authors' statistical treatment of their obtained data appears to be flawed. They do not include the data or a detailed description of the statistical treatment of the data. The two groups, i.e. those wearing bras and those that did not, were not controlled for many other factors influencing the risk of breast cancer."
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