According to breast cancer statistics, this type of cancer is the most common type in women all around the world. In the U.S.A., 12 percent of women are likely to develop an invasive form of breast cancer throughout their life. This means 1 in 8 American women stands a huge risk of becoming ill with this cruel disease that kills about 40,000 women every year, most of whom are younger than 50 years old. These high numbers will probably prompt women to jump at any opportunity that could give them a chance to stay alive and healthy.
A new study published in the Journal in the National Cancer Institute brings good news related to breast cancer, especially to women who are planning to or have already become mothers. Research shows that women who breastfeed their babies run a lower risk to both have the cancer recur and kill them.
The study targeted 1,636 women with breast cancer. They were asked to complete a survey whose results revealed that breastfeeding provided protection especially for certain types of cancer. This included the most incidental hormone-sensitive strain. Moreover, women who had been breastfeeding their children for more than six months were better protected against the tumor. “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,” said study author Marilyn Kwan, from Kaiser Permanente – the American health care provider.
A co-author of the study, Bette Caan added that breastfeeding can lead to a higher level of maturation of ductal cells in the woman’s breast, which makes them less vulnerable to carcinogens. Furthermore, they enable the excretion of carcinogens, impeding tumors from growing. Therefore, these tumors have slighter chances of spreading to other organs than others and are more easily treatable.
The study concludes that breastfeeding might reduce the risk of cancer recurring or killing a woman by 30 percent and 28 percent, respectively. The findings also reveal that the longer a mother breastfeeds, the more chances of survival and defeating cancer she stands.
Breastfeeding thus proves extremely beneficial from more than one point of view. Not only can it represent a cure for a sick woman, but it is also healthy for the infant, providing all the nutrients it needs to grow. It is also good for dietary reasons, helping the mother to lose the extra weight accumulated during pregnancy. Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advise mothers not to rule out breastfeeding, as it is a magnificent opportunity that brings many perks.
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