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Breastfeeding and Reducing Risk
 
  


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Breastfeeding and Reducing Risk  

If I didn’t nurse my children, am I at greater risk of breast cancer?

There is a mounting body of evidence indicating that breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk. An analysis was performed that combined the results of 47 studies in 30 countries involving almost 100,000 women without breast cancer and over 50,000 women with breast cancer. [Lancet 2002; 360 (9238):187-195.]

According to this large analysis, mothers who breastfed for a total of one year (when duration of breastfeeding for all children were combined) were found to be 6% less likely to develop breast cancer than mothers who had not breastfed; women who breastfed for a total of two years were 11% less likely to develop the disease. Breastfeeding for longer cumulative periods yielded even larger benefits. More recent studies also have demonstrated that women who nursed their children have a lower rate of breast cancer. [Pediatrics, 2005; 115(2):496-505.]

Remember, however, that breastfeeding is one of many factors that can reduce the risk of breast cancer. The decision whether to breastfeed is very personal and should not be motivated simply by the desire to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Although breastfeeding is one of many factors that help to prevent breast cancer, breastfeeding has many other benefits for the mother and child.

In deciding whether breastfeeding is best for you and your infant:

• See our Q&As on benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and the child.
• See the 2005 Policy Statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics on "Breastfeeding and the use of human milk" at http://aappolicy.aapublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics; 115/2/496 or see Pediatrics, 2005; 115(2):496- 505.
• See the website of The La Leche League International, www.lalecheleague.org, for useful information on breastfeeding and support services.
• Be sure to talk with your physician about your medical history and the needs of your infant.



Questions Related to Breastfeeding and Reducing Risk
Does antibiotic use increase breast cancer risk?
What does the term, "risk factor" for cancer (including breast cancer), mean?
My mother had breast cancer. Does this mean I am at greater risk?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago, but I am now in remission. Am I at a higher risk of getting the disease again in the future?
Can benign cysts become cancerous?
I have no family history of breast cancer. Why should I worry about getting breast cancer?
Is there anything I can do to lower my risk of getting breast cancer?
Does Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) increase my breast cancer risk?
What is the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool?
What women are at risk for breast cancer?
What risk factors are most important in determining my likelihood of getting breast cancer?
Does exposure to toxins and chemicals in the environment increase one’s risk of breast cancer?
Do breast implants increase your risk of breast cancer?
Does radiation exposure increase your breast cancer risk?
What is the connection between estrogen and breast cancer?
I have had fertility treatments. Does this increase my risk of breast cancer?
If I take birth control pills, am I at greater risk of getting breast cancer?
What are phytoestrogens? Do they cause breast cancer?
What causes breast cancer?
What are the risk factors that put a woman at a higher risk for breast cancer?
What risk factors for breast cancer can you control?
What risk factors for breast cancer can you not control?
I started menstruating at a very young age. Am I at greater risk of getting breast cancer?
If I am overweight, am I at a greater risk of developing breast cancer?
I've heard that being overweight before menopause helps lower your risk of breast cancer. Is this true?
Is there a link between alcohol and breast cancer?
Why does alcohol consumption increase the risk of breast cancer ?
Can exercise reduce breast cancer risk?
Does a woman's height influence her breast cancer risk?
I have never had children. Am I at a greater risk for breast cancer?
Why does starting menstruation at an earlier age slightly increase your risk of breast cancer?
I began menopause later than average. Does this put me at increased risk for breast cancer?
Can I inherit breast cancer from my mother or other women in my family?
I often experience breast pain. What is this pain? Does the breast pain mean that I am more likely to get breast cancer?
I have very lumpy breasts. Does this mean I will develop breast cancer or am at high risk?
I’ve been told that I have high breast density. What is high breast density? Does this increase my risk of breast cancer?
Are women who have fibrocystic changes in their breasts at higher risk for breast cancer?
Is there a link between smoking and breast cancer?
Does stress increase your risk of breast cancer?
Does abortion increase a woman's risk of breast cancer?
If I am HIV-positive, can I breastfeed my baby?
If I am being treated for AIDS, can I breastfeed my baby?
If I take aspirin or ibuprofen regularly, will the medication increase my risk of developing breast cancer?
What is the connection between dietary fats and fiber and risk of breast cancer?
Can eating soy foods affect the risk of developing breast cancer?
Do statin drugs lower the risk of breast cancer?
Does estrogen replacement therapy increase my risk of breast cancer?
I often experience mastalgia. What causes mastalgia? Does mastalgia mean that I am more likely to get breast cancer?
Does using antiperspirants raise the risk of breast cancer?
Ever since I was a teenager, one of my breasts is larger than the other breast. Does this affect my risk of breast cancer?

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