Can Breastfeeding Cause You Breast Cancer? Expert Reveals The Hidden Truth
Breastfeeding offers many health benefits for both mothers and infants beyond any potential impact on breast cancer risk.
Written by saumya pandey|Published : September 21, 2023 11:29 AM IST
Breastfeeding has always been a topic of concern as it is still one of the idol ways of feeding infants. It helps to soothe the baby naturally and make their immune system strong. There's no baby formula that can be a better alternative for babies, they get an adequate amount of nutrients through breastfeeding. Besides all, there are many negative connotations attached to breastfeeding. One of the doubts revolves around the topic of whether breastfeeding increases the risk of cancer or not. However, studies suggest that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer instead of increasing it. In this article, we will shed some light on this topic to clear the assumptions and provide some research-based points to support the argument behind breastfeeding and breast cancer.
What Do Studies Say?
Many studies have found that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer. The more a woman breastfeeds over her lifetime, the lesser the chance of developing breast cancer. Breast milk is said to contain antibodies that can strengthen your baby's immune system while also playing a crucial role in promoting a healthy gut. These beneficial bacteria help in smooth digestion. This protective effect may be due to several factors, including the temporary shutdown of menstrual cycles during breastfeeding, which lowers exposure to hormones like estrogen that can promote breast cancer growth. Additionally, breastfeeding leads to changes in breast tissue that make it less susceptible to cancer development.
Relationship Between Breast Cancer And Breastfeeding
Depending on the kind of breast cancer, there are different connections between nursing and risk. Breast cancers that lack the estrogen receptor (ER-) are often more aggressive and less susceptible to hormonal therapies. Breastfeeding appears to have a more significant protective impact against ER breast cancers. Although perhaps less significant, there is still a risk reduction for estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast tumors. Additionally, it has been discovered that breastfeeding may protect from ovarian and endometrial cancers as well. Breastfeeding decreases exposure to the hormones associated with these cancers by preventing the production of estrogen, which in turn helps to suppress ovulation. Additionally, it has been hypothesized that lactation aids in the quicker expulsion of cells from the ovaries and breast ducts, reducing the likelihood that mutant cells may grow and create tumors.
Breast cancer risk is significantly reduced for women who breastfeed for at least one year cumulatively throughout all pregnancies. It also matters when you breastfeed your child. According to some studies, nursing earlier in life (for instance, in one's twenties) may have a greater influence on lowering breast cancer risk than starting later.
It is important to note that the relationship between breastfeeding and breast cancer is dependent on various factors but breastfeeding will always remain the best way of feeding infants. Besides, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer instead of increasing it. The extent to which breastfeeding can lower the chances of breast cancer depends on several variables, including the duration and timing of breastfeeding, the type of breast cancer, and other risk factors. Breastfeeding seems to have a stronger preventative impact on breast tumors that lack the estrogen receptor (ER-).