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Breastfeeding Magazine

Breastfeeding and Cancer: Facts You Should Know



Breastfeeding and Cancer Facts

This article about breastfeeding and cancer was submitted
by Suzanne Early from Early-Detection-for-Breast-Cancer.com


Maybe you are excited and about to have a baby. Or perhaps you are about to become a new mother and face a dilemma…..to breastfeed or not to breastfeed?

A Great Benefit of Breastfeeding

Breast PainHere is something you may find interesting. Breastfeeding may also help protect you against breast cancer. Wow, isn’t that a huge bonus to breastfeeding a baby! By spending time bonding together, giving your baby nutrients and immune factors, you are also helping your own breast health at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking!

So, how does this happen? It is thought that the longer a woman breastfeeds her children over her lifetime, the less chance there is of her having breast cancer.

In developing countries, it is very normal for women to have larger families and feed their babies longer. The number of children a woman has in a developing country, and the length of time she breast feeds, is different compared to a developed country.

Women in USA and Britain have approx 2.5 children and breast feed on average about three months. If they have 2.5 children, it means a women spends about 8 months of total breastfeeding time.

In contrast, in developing countries it is normal for a women to have 6 children and feed them longer (for approximately two years.) That means that these women will be breastfeeding a total of about twelve years.

Why the Decreased Cancer Risk?  What is the Link Between Breastfeeding and Cancer?

Being pregnant decreases the level of estrogen a woman is exposed to, due to the fact she is not ovulating. Women who do not ovulate or they ovulate less due to extended breastfeeding, can have reduced risk of breast cancer, due to the lower estrogen exposure. When women breast feed, it causes hormone changes in the breast which alters the level of estrogen. If your estrogen is lower, perhaps so is the risk of breast cancer.  (You can learn more about the latest research here.)

Breastfeeding also causes changes in the mammary ducts which can also make breast cells resistant to breast cancer. It is also thought that women who were breastfed when they were babies themselves, may have decreased risk due to their mothers breast milk hormones and immune factor goodies they had as a baby.

So the question to breast feed or not to breast feed needs to be weighed and every woman will have her own views on the subject…but when you are going through your own thoughts on the matter, please take into consideration that not only is breast feeding fantastic for your baby, but breast feeding may protect you against breast cancer as well.

Wishing you the best of breast health!


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Breastfeeding and Cancer - Facts You Should Know!


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