Posted on August 12th, 2009 by
Among women with a first-degree family history of breast cancer, breastfeeding cut the risk of premenopausal breast cancer by more than half. These results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Each year in the United States, close to 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Although some risk factors for breast cancer are things that a woman cannot change (such as her age or family history of breast cancer), others may be modifiable. By identifying modifiable risk factors, researchers hope to increase options for cancer prevention.
Some studies have suggested that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, but results have not been entirely consistent.
To further evaluate the relationship between breastfeeding and risk of breast cancer, researchers evaluated information from more than 60,000 parous women (women who had given birth) in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The analysis focused on premenopausal breast cancer.
These results suggest that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of premenopausal breast cancer in women with a family history of breast cancer.
Reference: Stuebe AM, Willett WC, Xue F, Michels KB. Lactation and Incidence of premenopausal breast cancer: A longitudinal study. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2009;169:1364-1371.
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