Despite the wealth of evidence suggesting that breastfeeding
is beneficial for children and their mothers, the length of
time spent breastfeeding each child is decreasing in the United
States. At the same time, breast cancer rates are rising,
especially in younger women.
information from nearly 50 studies from 30 countries all over
the world, the authors of a recent study in The Lancet
compared the number of children and months spent breastfeeding
between 50,000 women with invasive breast cancer and 100,000
The risk for breast cancer dropped almost 5% for each year
a mother spent breastfeeding her children. Additionally, each
childbirth reduced her risk for breast cancer by 7%. Thus,
a woman with three children, all of whom were breastfed for
a year, would be about 35% less likely to have breast cancer
than a woman who had not had children or breastfed.
If you plan on having kids, consider breastfeeding instead
of using infant formula. In addition to preventing breast
cancer, breastfeeding may protect your baby against infection,
high cholesterol, allergies, obesity, and developmental problems.
Evidence suggests that women who breastfeed also return to
their prepregnancy weight faster than other mothers.
Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer.
Breast cancer and breastfeeding: Collaborative reanalysis
of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries,
including 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 women
without the disease. The Lancet 2002:360, pp. 187-195.
For more information about women's health, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/women.