Women who breastfeed have lower risk of breast cancer mortality

2016
breastfeed

In a recent study published in Breastfeeding Medicine, researchers have found that breast cancer mortality is lower in women who breastfeed.

The study is conducted by University of Linköping, County Hospital in Sweden and University of Tromsø in Norway.

Researchers examined the relationships among breastfeeding, reproductive health, and breast cancer survival in women. They analyzed 629 women who had primary breast cancer and had undergone surgery between 1988 and 1992.

Among these women, 341 were traced and consequently studied 20 years later regarding breastfeeding and reproductive health.

The result showed that breastfeeding for longer than 6 months is associated with a better survival rate. Among breast cancer survivors who breastfed for more than 6 months, both breast cancer mortality and overall mortality risk were less after 20 years.

Researchers suggest that the long-term maternal health benefits of breastfeeding are not only preventative in nature, but also have the capacity to reduce the severity of breast cancer.

Other possible benefits of breastfeeding to moms:

  • Stronger bones. Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis (a condition that weakens bones over time).
  • Healthy weight. Women are less likely to become obese if they breastfeed.
  • Better healing post-delivery. Breastfeed can help release oxytocin to reduce post-delivery blood loss. In addition, it can help the uterus return to its normal size more quickly.

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Citation: Lööf-Johanson M, et al. (2016). Breastfeeding Associated with Reduced Mortality in Women with Breast Cancer. Breastfeeding Medicine, 11: 321-327. DOI:10.1089/bfm.2015.0094.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is credited to Mothering Touch.