The number of breast cancer cases in the country has been rising rapidly over the last few years. Researchers have been trying to identify potential ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer. An important factor that has been found to have a positive impact in reducing breast cancer risk is breastfeeding.
Over the years, many studies have been carried out to understand the exact relationship between breast feeding and breast cancer. A study conducted in 2002 analyzed the histories of a large number of women with and without breast cancer. According to the study, women who breastfed for longer durations had lower chances of developing breast cancer. The study took various factors into account such as age, ethnicity, menopausal status, number of births, age at which the first birth occurred etc. From the results, it was determined that breast cancer risk was lowered by 4.3% for each year of breast feeding. Although 4% might not seem like much, remember that the risk of breast cancer in developed nations is very high, and therefore even 6 months of breast feeding can cut down the risk to a considerable extent. In contrast, developing nations have less incidence of breast cancer because they tend to have more children, and they also breast feed their children for a longer duration. Japan, which is in fact a developed nation, has a low number of breast cancer cases, possibly because they promote and advocate breast feeding for long durations.
Hereditary Breast Cancer and Breast Feeding
Women who suffer from hereditary breast cancer due to the mutation of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 too can gain from breastfeeding. According to studies, women who have a family history of breast cancer can lower their risk of developing breast cancer significantly if they breast feed their newborns. In Dr. Alison M. Steube’s (University of North Carolina) view, breast feeding is not only beneficial for the baby, but is good for the mother as well. These findings were the result of a long study carried out between 1997 to 2005, on 60,075 nurses who had just given birth.
The study further suggested that women who had a mother, sister or aunt with breast cancer reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by 59% if they had breastfed. Researchers note that such a high percentage of lowering the risk was especially beneficial to those women who are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer due to heredity factors.
Researchers have conducted several studies to determine the effectiveness of breast feeding to lower the risk of breast cancer. Though not all studies provide the same answer, it must be noted that most studies point to the effectiveness of breast feeding in significantly lowering the risk of breast cancer. Many healthcare practitioners also suggest that mothers breast feed their children for at least a year. Apart from lowering the risk of breast cancer, it is has many other health advantages to both mother and the child.
Changing lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits have increased the risk of developing cancer. Therefore it is best to take precautions wherever you can, and studies suggest that one of the easy ways to reduce breast cancer risk is to continue breast feeding your child for as long as you can. More studies are needed to establish the optimum duration of breast feeding, and just how much of an impact it has on breast cancer, but it does have many health benefits. Not only does breast feeding promote bonding between the infant and the mother, but it also has health benefits for both mother and child. Talk about a win-win solution.
Author Bio: Sameer Gupta is a medical writer who writes well-researched, in-depth cancer articles which provide relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) prides in providing the best cancer treatment solutions to patients who have endured to various cancer types. With cancer centers in Philadelphia, Tulsa, Chicago, Newnan etc., CTCA aims at providing the best treatment options to cancer patients.