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Does breastfeeding reduce your risk of breast cancer?

Breastfeeding your little one could safeguard your health in the long run.

04 October 2016
by The Clicks Health Team

Many lifestyle modifiers have been examined in relation to the risks of a woman developing breast cancer. These include body mass index, alcohol intake, number of completed pregnancies and age at first pregnancy, as well as whether a woman has breast-fed, and if so, for how long.

What the studies show

Many studies have looked at the effects of breastfeeding on a woman’s risks.  Whilst not every study shows a beneficial effect, most do, and the evidence is overwhelmingly in support of breastfeeding reducing a woman’s risks for developing breast cancer.  

Earlier in 2015 a meta-analysis (a study combining all published studies on the topic, no matter what their findings) was conducted on research published on the topic from 2008-2014.  Published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, this analysis looked at 27 studies involving 13 907 breast cancer cases.  

This pooled analysis showed that overall, women who had breastfed, versus those who had never breastfed, had an almost 40% decreased lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, and the longer a woman breastfed for, the greater the protective effect.

Thus the evidence for breastfeeding as a protective lifestyle choice against breast cancer is robust, and is one that women should be informed of when making a choice as to whether to breastfeed or not.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com

Read More: Cancer Super Section