Can breastfeeding for longer reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Every year, World Breastfeeding Week aims to raise awareness of the benefits that breastfeeding brings to your baby. Now, researchers are starting to unveil that there are benefits as equally important to mums.

RELATED: Study shows breastfeeding keeps you heart-healthy

Breastfeeding and breast cancer research

A Spanish study has provided evidence that women who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast cancer, compared to women who give birth but choose not to breastfeed. Furthermore, breastfeeding for at least six months can delay breast cancer by a decade or more for those women who are more susceptible to the disease.

The study showed that these statistics apply to women who don’t smoke. Women who smoke still have a higher incidence of breast cancer even if they breastfeed.

Lead researcher Emilio Gonzalez-Jimenez PhD said: 

“In contrast, female smokers were diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age and obtained no significant benefit from a longer period of breastfeeding.”

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Is long-term breastfeeding the key to lowering cancer risk?

This influential study on breastfeeding and breast cancer showed that each year a women is actively breastfeeding; her breast cancer risk is lowered by 4.3%. So, long-term, breastfeeding for longer periods could be the key to preventing this widespread disease among women.

The exact protection mechanism related to breastfeeding and breast cancer is not fully known.

But Dr. Emilio Gonzalez-Jimenez and his research team said:

“The most probable of these are the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy and lactation.” 

Find out what could be the reason behind this breastfeeding link on the next page…