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Does deodorant cause skin cancer?

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Updated April 11, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Does deodorant cause skin cancer?
I was wondering if deodorants are known to cause skin cancer. I recently developed a bump under my armpit, and my co-worker said she heard that deodorant causes cancer. Is this true?
Answer: I am not aware of any scientific data that has shown an association between deodorants and skin cancer. If this was true, then we would see a increased trend of people developing skin lesions, bumps, or spots in the armpit area. Again, I am not aware of any such trend.

I believe your co-worker was referring to research that claims to have found an association between deodorant use and breast cancer. It important to note that the Food and Drug Administration, the National Cancer Institute, and other large medical organizations do not support these findings. (Read more about deodorant and breast cancer.)

The bump that you have in your armpit area could be something as minor as a ingrown hair, or something more serious, like an abnormal mole. I would recommend having your doctor evaluate the bump as soon as possible. You can also view this skin cancer photo gallery to see what abnormal moles look like.

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