Health & Lifestyle

Viral TikTok clip sparks panic with suggestions breast cancer can be triggered by a SPORTS BRA – doctor claims the tight tops can ‘trap’ fluids

  • A video with nearly 8million views claims breast lumps develop because ‘fluids get stuck’ in  lymph nodes after wearing sports bras 
  • Top breast cancer expert gives her skeptical verdict 
  • READ MORE: Why are so many women under 40 being struck by breast cancer?

A TikToker has set social media wild with panic after claiming that wearing sports bras frequently caused a lump in her breast.

Kelly Noble, an empowerment coach from Arizona, told her 12,000 followers that the growth she’d developed – which turned out to be harmless – was a result of the excess compression from sports bras which helps to keep fluids ‘stuck’ in the glands near the breast. 

‘If you wear a sports bra all the time, you need to stop,’ she said in the TikTok video, which has 7.8 million views. ‘The [doctor] said that fluids can get stuck in here from your lymph nodes [glands beside the breasts and under the armpits], and when you have compression… on them all the time, it gets extra fluid because it can’t go anywhere.’

The clip (below) has attracted more than 8,000 comments – mostly from young women, who are being diagnosed with cancer at growing rates, afraid that they might be at risk too.

‘….I’m wearing one right now …I’m taking it off,’ one woman wrote, while another said she was ‘super nervous’ after watching the video.

‘I wear a sports bar all the time cause I work construction and I need to wear one,’ she added. Another wrote: ‘I have lumps and My Dr never gave me this info and now I’m so happy you mentioned this.’

Ms Noble went on to pass on even more strange advice from her doctor. To help with that build-up of fluid, you should take off your bra, raise an arm, and ‘lightly flick’ the breast.

‘Bend over and basically shake your titties to help with all the fluids,’ she said.

Kelly Noble, an empowerment coach from Arizona, went viral on TikTok after claiming her doctor told her that wearing a sports bra caused a lump in her breast

A TikTok clip that advises women to 'flick' their breasts to get rid of excess lump-causing tissue has attracted nearly 8million views

A TikToker has claimed that breast lumps can be caused by compression from sports bras – but breast surgeons say such ideas are ‘nonsense’

However, experts have debunked the myth and claim that Ms Noble’s doctor was misinformed. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan, a breast cancer surgeon in the UK, posted a YouTube video debunking the claims on Monday: ‘I have no idea where her doctor went to medical school, but this is not a thing,’ said Dr O’Riordan, who has had breast cancer herself twice. ‘I’m here to tell you it’s nonsense.’

Dr O’Riordan explains fluid doesn’t get stuck in the lymph nodes. Firstly, she says, fluid drains up from vessels at the bottom of the breast upwards to the lymph nodes – not the other way around, as the video suggests.

As for Ms Noble’s shaking suggestion: ‘If your breasts are healthy, the lymph vessels in the skin will automatically drain excess fluid away.’

The surgeon adds that some women will suffer from breast swelling caused by fluid if they’ve undergone certain cancer treatments such as radiotherapy – a condition called lymphedema


Lymphedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues.

Lymphoedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body's tissues

Lymphoedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues

It usually develops in the arms or legs.

Lymphedema affects up to 10 million people in the US and more than 200,000 in the UK. 

It occurs when the lymphatic system does not work properly.

The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands that remove excess fluid and help fight infections.

As well as swelling, which is often worse during the day, other symptoms may include: 

  • An aching, heavy feeling
  • Difficulty moving
  • Repeated skin infections
  • Hard, tight skin
  • Wart-like growths
  • Fluid leaking from the skin
  • Folds developing in the skin

Lymphedema can be inherited or occur as a result of infections, injuries or cancer treatment.

Around one in five women with breast cancer and half with vulval cancer develop lymphoedema. 

There is no cure. 

Treatment focuses on minimising fluid build up via compression stockings and a healthy lifestyle.

Source: NHS Choices 


This is where fluid that is usually drained from the body builds up in the fatty tissues, such as the breast, arms and legs. And for these women, flicking won’t help.  

Dr O’Riordan instead recommends a firm breast massage, which can be done by placing one hand on top of the breast on the opposite side of the body. The fingertips should press into the armpit. 

You can then squeeze your hand over the breast in a pumping motion.

‘Flicking and shaking your breasts, all that will make you do is go “ow” and look ridiculous,’ Dr O’Riordan said.

She also doesn’t recommend ditching the sports bra, especially for physical activity.

While running, breasts can bounce up to 15 centimeters in any direction. Breasts are made up of fat, connective tissue, and ligaments, but they don’t have any muscles keeping them in place. Larger breasts also tend to move more. 

‘This can be sore and uncomfortable and can prevent you from getting active,’ Dr O’Riordan said. ‘It can also lead to saggy or droopy breasts, as ligaments permanently stretch.’

‘That’s why it’s important to wear a sports bra.’

Dr Liz O'Riordan, a breast cancer surgeon in the UK, went on YouTube this week to debunk Ms Noble's claim and advise against flicking breasts

Dr Liz O’Riordan, a breast cancer surgeon in the UK, went on YouTube this week to debunk Ms Noble’s claim and advise against flicking breasts

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in both the US and the world. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates there will be more than 300,000 new cases this year, along with 43,700 deaths. 

However, death rates have plummeted 43 percent between 1989 and 2020 after successful public health awareness campaigns, better screening and new drugs.

Nine in 10 patients are expected to survive after five years.

All women aged 50 to 74 are advised to get checked via a mammogram – a low-energy X-ray of their breasts – every two years.

The average age of breast cancer diagnosis is 62, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

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