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Breast Feeding Helps Women Reduce Risk of the Breast Cancer

In a new study published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute, woman who breast fed had a less chance of having breast cancer reoccur. The research has stated that breastfeeding has a strong protective effect on the body, with the protection being the greatest for those individuals that breastfed for 6 months or longer. The study found that woman that breastfed were more likely to get Luminal A subtype of breast cancer, which is a less aggressive form. By breastfeeding, a molecular environment may be set up that can make the tumor much more  responsive to anti-estrogen therapies. These tumors are less likely to spread to the rest of the body, and are often treatable with drugs like tamoxifen. It has been noted that breastfeeding can reduce the likelihood of breast cancer by 30%. The risk of dying with breast cancer when having breastfed is lowered by 28%.

Lead researcher Marilyn Kwan, from US health care provider Kaiser Permanente, said, “This is the first study we’re aware of that examined the role of breastfeeding history in cancer recurrence, and by tumor subtype. Women who breastfeed are more likely to get the Luminal A subtype of breast cancer, which is less aggressive, and breastfeeding may set up a molecular environment that makes the tumor more responsive to anti-estrogen therapy.”

“Breastfeeding may increase the maturation of ductal cells in the breast, making them less susceptible to carcinogens or facilitate the excretion of carcinogens, and lead to slower growing tumors.” said Co-author Bette Caan.

These tumors are less likely to spread to other parts of the body and are often treatable with drugs such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors.

Overall, a history of breastfeeding reduced the chance of the cancer recurring by 30 percent, and the risk of dying dropped by 28 percent. The reduction of cancer risk was proportional to the cumulative lifetime duration of breastfeeding. The more months or years a mother breastfeeds, the lower her risk for cancer.

Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for infants with a perfect mix of vitamins, minerals, protein and fat that a baby needs to grow. In addition, breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and other illnesses in the early stages of life. Now, it seems, breast feeding can help the mothers as well helping mothers burn more calories and lowering the risk of osteoporosis, ovarian cancer and even breast cancer as well.

About Suzanne McNamara

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