The scare is that tying the petticoat under the traditional Indian women’s wear — the sari — too tightly and at the same place repeatedly might lead to skin cancer. The scare, obviously, is over rated. Any drawstring clothing — a pyajama, a salwar or a petticoat — could trigger this condition. The debate over whether this cancer should or shouldn’t be called ‘saree cancer’ refuses to die in the media, , , . This, even four months after doctors reported a couple of cases of cancer triggered by unhealthy petticoat tying in the Journal of Indian Medical Association (JIMA).
The researchers from Grant Medical College, Mumbai say it is ‘debatable’ whether the sari is an ideal clothing for the Indian climate. They also point out that “to make matters worse, they wear a skirt underneath fastened securely to the waist by a cord. These tight garments induce various dermatoses along the waist in female patients”. This is primarily because of sweating and skin irritation. They, however, cite an earlier study of 140 cases of waist line lesions associated with sari wearing but no malignancy.
In both the cases that the fresh study reports, the malignancy triggered by waist dermatoses was slow to spread.
Is the case study good enough to get worried over the humble sari or the salwar-kurta or pyajamas yet? Two cases do not seem to be good enough. Though caution — tying the drawstrings loosely and not at the same place always — looks like the way out of the scare. The researchers also suggest replacing the thin cord with broader belts with hooks to reduce pressure on a particular site.
As long as it doesn’t cause physical irritation or lesions, the sari — unequivocally voted the most flattering Indian wear — has been given a green signal, for now!