Breastfeeding 'significantly' lowers cancer risk, study finds

A major study has strengthened the theory that breastfeeding significantly reduces a mother's risk of breast cancer.

Women who breastfeed for a year over their lifetime are almost 5 per cent less likely to develop the disease than those who do not breastfeed at all, it showed. The researchers said that while the reduction may seem small, breastfeeding for longer would cut the risk even more. Breast cancer is Britain's most common cancer, affecting more than 45,000 women a year and claiming more than 1,000 lives a month.

An analysis of cancer statistics by the World Cancer Research Fund showed that breastfeeding for a year cut the odds of developing the disease by 4.8 per cent. The year did not have to be continuous, with breastfeeding two babies for six months each having the same effect. And the more months of breastfeeding a woman clocked up, the lower her chances of the disease. The process lowers the levels of some cancer-related hormones in the mother's blood and, at the end of breastfeeding, the body rids itself of damaged breast cells that could turn cancerous in the future.

Breastfeeding may also cut the baby's chances of cancer in later life by reducing his or her odds of obesity.

Source - Independent

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