A study that suggests mechanical force could combat breast cancer is getting a lot of play around the web the last few days. It’s also getting a lot of boob-squeezing spin.
Here’s one example from the article we posted on the study:
Teenage boys have been waiting for this news for years.
According to a new study, squeezing breasts can prevent cancer. Yes, really.
More specifically, the, ahem, fresh research from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that mechanical force can stop the rapid growth of cancer cells as well as guide them back to a normal, healthy growth pattern.
The original press release was much more measured about the findings. Here’s how it starts:
Researchers at the UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have put the squeeze — literally — on malignant mammary cells to guide them back into a normal growth pattern.
The findings, presented Monday, Dec. 17 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, show for the first time that mechanical forces alone can revert and stop the out-of-control growth of cancer cells. This change happens even though the genetic mutations responsible for malignancy remain, setting up a nature-versus-nurture battle in determining a cell’s fate.
As you can see, not one mention of copping a feel. Here are some more reasons the headlines don’t fit the research:
- There were no boobs squeezed in the study. It was a cell culture experiment, not an experiment on boobs or on people with breast cancer. While a study that involves boob squeezing probably sounds fun to our male readers, that’s not what this study was about.
- The headlines all took the “boob squeezing is good,” angle, though the researchers specifically state that: “Compression, in and of itself, is not likely to be a therapy.”
- The reports say “prevent breast cancer” when the study shows nothing of the sort — it shows that under cell culture conditions, application of manual forces can change the breast cancer cells. Actual breast cancer is much, much more complicated than cells growing in a dish.
Or, maybe I just don’t want men going around grabbing boobs and claiming it’s “for science.”