Other than benefits to the baby, breastfeeding is also beneficial to women who are later diagnosed with breast cancer. This is according to a research that studied hundreds of women in Northern California.
Out of the 1600 women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, those who had breastfed earlier in their life had a 30% less chance of contracting the disease again. They also had less aggressive types of tumors while compared to their counterparts.
The study also showed that breastfeeding longer, also had added benefits. Those mothers who had breastfeed for six months and more, showed a 37% less chance of getting the disease again after successful treatment.
The reasons are not yet very clear but researchers suggest that it could be due to the late return of the menstrual cycle, for those mothers who breastfeed and maturity of the ductal cells. Delayed menstrual cycle means lower levels of estrogen hormone, which is said to encourage growth of the cancer cells. Mature ductal cells are more resistant to carcinogens.
Health and lactation experts are set to use the research to encourage women to breastfeed. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 77% of the new mothers in the country breastfeed their babies.
Gianfrancesco Genoso (dino.com) has learned that, despite breastfeeding rates decreasing in the 70s, they have been rising since then. California has the highest breastfeeding rates in the US, with rates almost reaching 93%