Breastfeeding Slashes Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer – Study
Women who breastfeed for more than six months have a lower risk of contracting breast cancer, a new study claims.
A new study of women 20 years after surgery for primary breast cancer shows that nursing for longer than six months led to a better survival rate.
The research builds on evidence that by halting estrogen production, breastfeeding helps prevent the development of tumors.
But researchers warn that it is essential women nurse newborn babies for as long as possible to reap the benefits.
The findings, published in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, come on the heels of a CDC warning that few mothers are still breastfeeding six months after childbirth.
‘This study confirms that the long-term maternal health benefits of breastfeeding are not only preventative in nature, but that it also has the capacity to reduce the severity of breast cancer,’ says Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine.
Researchers at the University of Linköping in Sweden analyzed the survival rates 20 years on of 630 women, who had been treated for breast cancer between 1988 and 1992.
They found women who had had at least one pregnancy, and who breastfed for at least six months, had a much higher chance of survival.
It is the latest in a decade of studies exploring the correlation between nursing and cancer.
However, the CDC warned last week that while more mothers are breastfeeding in America, too many quit early.
That is according to a new report which marks progress after years of public health campaigns insisting breast is best.
In 2013, eight out of 10 newborns started out breastfeeding, the report shows – up from 7.6 in 10 the year before.
But only half of infants still breastfeed at six months, as advised.
And fewer than one-third (30.7 per cent) are breastfed at 12 months.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first six months.
After that, mothers should breastfeed along with other foods until their baby reaches one year old.
Then it is up to the mother and baby, but it is no longer essential.
There are a number of reasons pediatricians say breast is best.
Breastfeeding protects babies against breathing illnesses, ear infections, stomach bugs and allergies.
The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced by more than one-third in breast-fed babies.
And studies show breastfeeding drives down obesity rates in later life.
A mother’s natural milk contains zinc, which is needed for the body’s defensive – immune – system to properly work.
It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Zinc is also needed for the senses of smell and taste.
During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also enhances the action of insulin.