Breastfeeding Cuts Cancer Risk

Breastfeeding is not only good for babies, but also for moms. Studies show that breastfeeding cuts the risk of cancer recurrence.

Every lactating mother is highly advised to breastfeed their babies because breast milk provides the ideal nutrition needed by infants. Breast milk has nearly the perfect mix of protein, vitamins and fat – everything required for the baby to grow healthy and strong. It also contains antibodies that help fight off bacteria and viruses, keeping infants away from illnesses and other diseases.

Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months are said to be at lower risks for developing ear infections, lung or respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea. They also have fewer trips to the doctors.

Breastfeeding not only benefits the infant but the mother as well. Losing the pregnancy weight can be faster through breastfeeding since it helps burn extra calories. During breastfeeding, high levels of the hormone known as oxytocin are released, which helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. The release of oxytocin also reduces the risk of uterine bleeding after giving birth or postpartum bleeding.

Breastfeeding has been known to reduce risk of several dreadful diseases in women. These include Type II Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol and hypertension or high blood pressure. Studies also reveal that breastfeeding moms have lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer later in life.

And recently, researchers reported that there is another great benefit from breastfeeding. In moms who developed breast cancer, breastfeeding may reduce the likelihood of cancer recurrence.

Researchers examined the medical records of 1,636 cancer survivors and gathered data on whether the mothers had ever experienced breastfeeding. The study revealed that there are more than 300 recurrences during follow-up for almost nine years after completing the treatment.

After controlling for race, age, education, smoking and type of treatment or therapy, researchers found that compared with mothers who never breastfed, any breastfeeding was associated with reduced risk of cancer recurrence of about 30%, and breastfeeding for six months or more was associated with reduced risk of almost 40%.

With this study, mothers are all the more encouraged to breastfeed their babies. After all, the great benefits are not for infants alone, but for them as well.


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