Breastfeeding Cancer Facts

Does breastfeeding reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Yes, breastfeeding has been found to protect mothers against uterine, ovarian and breast cancer.

Research shows that if you breastfeed for two years, you have a reduced risk of breast cancer of 50%, but breastfeeding for even just two weeks has been found to reduce breast cancer risk.

Why does Breastfeeding Protect you against Cancer?

  • Fat-soluble pollutants and carcinogens are stored less in the lactating breast. Breastfeeding also reduces your exposure to estrogen.
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  • Preventing ovarian cancer: Breastfeeding reduces the number of times a woman ovulates, which decreases the ovulatory age and, therefore, reduces ovarian cancer risk.
  • Endometrial cancer prevention: Less stimulation on the endometrial lining during breastfeeding offers protection and prevents endometrial cancer.
  • If a mother does not breastfeed, she will usually experience engorgement and inflammation, this inflammation has been found to be the cause of breast cancer.

Important Breastfeeding Cancer Facts

  • An inability to breastfeed does not indicate cancer. 
  • Women who were breastfed as infants have a 25% lower risk of premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer.
  • A woman who has a family history of breast cancer is at a 59% decreased risk if she breastfeeds.

Other things that can decrease the risk of breast cancer

  • Breastfeeding more than one child
  • Having your first baby before the age of 25.
  • If you were breastfed as a baby.

Breastfeeding and Cancer Treatment

Breastfeeding while undergoing breast cancer treatment

  • Breastfeeding is safe to continue if you are undergoing: mammogram, X-ray, CAT scan, MRI, ultrasound, and biopsy.
  • Temporary weaning should be undertaken if the mother is going through Radioactive testing or hormonal therapy and chemotherapy. The doctor will need to test your milk afterward to make sure that it is clear.
  • Radiation might limit milk production in the specific breast worked on.
  • Remember that cancerous cells can never be passed to your baby via breast milk. 
  • Most breast cancer treatments will allow the mother to continue to breastfeed from the unaffected breast.
  • The mother can continue to pump and dump breast milk to keep up a good milk supply so she can continue to breastfeed after treatment.

Breastfeeding after Cancer

Breastfeeding after breast cancer

  • Breastfeeding is safe and possible after breast cancer, as long as the mother is not still on chemotherapy or radioactive therapy.
  • The breast that was treated for cancer may produce less breast milk than the other one. Breastfeeding the baby from just one breast is possible.
  • If you are unable to breastfeed at all, you can use a breastfeeding simulator, which allows your baby to continue to breastfeeding for closeness; the milk your baby receives will be received via an SNS. (tiny tube and bottle strapped to your chest)

Factors that can Reduce the Risk of Cancer

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