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Breastfeeding 'cuts cancer risk'

11th August 2009

According to a new US study, women who appear to be genetically predisposed to premenopausal breast cancer may reduce their risk of getting it by almost 60% if they breastfeed a child.


Alison Stuebe, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said that this suggests breastfeeding may reduce risks for women with a family history of breast cancer.

Steube said that although previous studies have suggested likewise, the overall results of such studies have been mixed, possibly due to recall bias.

Steube said that the goal of her study was to collect information before any diagnosis of breast cancer had been made and to follow them through their lives.

They culled data from 60,075 mothers from 1997 to 2005.

Every two years, the women answered basic questions about demographics, body measurements, lifestyle factors, and also made note of their breastfeeding routines.

In order to determine what their likelihood of getting breast cancer would normally be, they were asked about any possible diagnoses of the disease in themselves or in their family members.

Steube's team followed up with these women in June, 2005, and found that there were 608 cases of premenopausal invasive breast cancer.

She said that, overall, in the whole group of women studied, women who had breastfed were 25% less likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer than women who had never breastfed.

Among women whose family members had premenopausal breast cancer, 59% reduced their risk by breastfeeding.

Steube said that in women whose risk for breast cancer is low, it may be that researchers do not detect a difference, or there may not be a protective association, although the association is definitely there for women whose risk is high.

Amanda Phipps, a pre-doctoral research associate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said that while the reduction in risk is very large, another study showing the same results would need to take place.

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Wednesday 26th August 2009 @ 6:32

After analyzing data on lactation and breast cancer risk, the researchers said that the evidence is now "convincing" that breastfeeding lowers the risk of both pre-menopausal and post- menopausal breast cancer. Thank you for sharing this article, this is very informative.

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Article Information

Title: Breastfeeding 'cuts cancer risk'
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 12407
Date Added: 11th Aug 2009


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