A study published in the Journal of the Nationwide Most cancers Institute has showed that women who suffer from breast cancer and breastfeed their babies are less exposed to disease recurrence and less likely to die because of breast cancer.
The study was conducted on 1.636 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer from 1997 to 2000 and from 2006 to 2013. They filled in a questionnaires containing breastfeeding history. Other medical data needed for the study was taken from medical chart reviews and from the electronic health record Kaiser Permanente. The results showed that breastfeeding reduced the chances of recurrence by 30% and the risk of dying by 2%.
It seems that breastfeeding has a protective effect particularly in the case of certain types of tumors including the most usual hormone-sensitive strain. Women who had breastfed for at least six months had an increased protection.
Marilyn Kwan of the Kaiser Permanente Oakland said women who had breastfed beforehand also had a reduced risk of dying by 28%. Kwan added:
“If a woman breast-feeds, she reduces her risk of making breast most cancers by about 5 p.c to 10 p.c, although completely different parts come into play.”
She remarked that this is one of many studies which analyze the effects of breastfeeding, but their study shows not only that breastfeeding is healthy for the infant, but it also has positive effects on the mother.
Women who breastfeed tend to get the luminal A cancer type, which is not so aggressive. Moreover the molecular environment set up by breastfeeding makes the tumor respond better to anti-oestrogen therapy. This type of breast cancer displays oestrogen-positive tumors driven by the female hormone and these tumors are usually the most diagnosed form of the disease. Such tumors are less likely to reach other parts of the body compared to other tumors and they can be treated with hormonal drugs such as aromates inhibitors and tamoxifen.
It is not quite clear why women who breastfeed have less aggressive tumors. According to Dr Bette Caan from Kaiser Permanente, co-author of the study, explained that breastfeeding could enhance the maturation of ductal cells present in the breast and this makes them less vulnerable to carcinogens or breastfeeding could make the process of carcinogens excretion easier and thus leads to tumors which grow slower.
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