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Health professionals have released another reason for new mothers to breastfeed, as it could help to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurring. A new study shows that the two are connected. Only one baby needs to be breastfed to reap these medical benefits.
The study looked into women who have previously suffered from breast cancer, and involved them answering questions about their health and history of breastfeeding. From the answers, researchers were able to plot and compare the results. Those who breastfed at least one of their children found that relapsing did not happen as often. In total, 1,636 breast cancer patients were asked to answer the questions.
According to Kaiser Permanente Division of Research scientist Marilyn L. Kwan, this is the first time that the two have been studied together to show recurrence reduction. The study was also carried out by looking at tumor subtype, another first for the researchers.
This is certainly not the first time that breastfeeding has proven to be a positive option. There have been many other studies carried out to show the health benefits for mother and baby. Babies who receive breast milk are more likely to have better immune systems, especially when it comes to water borne diseases. Co-author of the Division of Research study, Bette J. Caan, reiterated that point when showing that breast cancer recurrence could be reduced with breastfeeding.
Kwan, lead researcher for the study, said that breastfeeding showed a “30 percent overall decreased risk” of breast cancer coming back. The results also showed that the risk of dying from the cancer was lowered by 28 percent.
There have been previous studies involving the look at developing breast cancer and breastfeeding. Research from those studies was also used in conjunction with this one to help give mothers a better informed paper.
Scientists are still to find out the reason for the positive outcome. Caan suggested that the maturation of ductal cells within the breasts may be increased during feeding. This means they are less susceptible to carcinogens and are not likely to excrete carcinogens around the body. That means the tumors will grow much slower and may never come back. However, this is currently just a theory and further studies are required.
The genetic subtypes are the types of cancer that can be affected by breastfeeding. Not all types of breast cancer showed the same results. At the moment, the virulent subtypes have not been fully tested to see if the benefits are the same.
That does not mean breastfeeding is not beneficial. As well as health benefits, opting for breast milk is cheaper than opting for formulas. It can also be safer as there are no chemicals that may be added to the plastic bottles or the formulas for babies.
Health officials recommend that babies are breastfed for the first six months of their lives, but the first year is beneficial. There are many reasons parents choose to do one or the other. Hearing that breast cancer recurrence could be reduced by breastfeeding could be a great reason to consider it.
By Alexandria Ingam