Breastfeeding Can Keep Cancer at Bay, Study Shows

A new study shows that women who have breast fed in their lives face a substantially lower risk of having a breast cancer recurrence.

The study, which was carried out by managed care organization Kaiser Permanente, involved more than 1,600 women all of whom had breast cancer. The study examined how breastfeeding affected breast cancer and specifically cancer’s recurrence.

“This is the first study we’re aware of that examined the role of breastfeeding history in cancer recurrence, and by tumor subtype,” noted the study’s lead researcher, Marilyn L. Kwan.

“In fact, the protection was even stronger for women who had a history of breastfeeding for six months or more.”

The finding: women who’ve both beaten cancer and breast fed at some point in their lives were 30-percent less likely to have their breast cancer return.

The study also showed that women who breast fed were 28-percent less likely to perish as a result of a breast cancer diagnosis. In fact, according to Kwan, women who breast fed for an extended period of time were the least likely to die from breast cancer. “In fact, the protection was even stronger for women who had a history of breastfeeding for 6 months or more,” Kwan said.

Furthermore, researchers could draw direct links between the most common of breast cancer tumors, Luminal A tumors, and breastfeeding. No significant associations could be made with other types of tumors, which suggests that further research is needed.

Kwan’s report on the study can now be found in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.


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