Did you know? Breastfeeding can give your baby a healthy start. But that’s not the only health benefit. It also can lower your breast cancer risk.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding have direct effects on breast cells, causing them to differentiate, or mature, so they can produce milk. These differentiated cells are more resistant to becoming transformed into cancer cells than cells that have not undergone differentiation.
Some pregnancy-related factors have been associated with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later in life. These factors include the following:
- Early age at first full-term pregnancy:Women who have their first full-term pregnancy at an early age have a decreased risk of developing breast cancer later in life. For example, a women who have a first full-term pregnancy before age 24, the risk of developing breast cancer is about half that of women whose first full-term pregnancy occurs after the age of 30.
- Longer duration of breastfeeding:Breastfeeding for an extended period (at least a year) is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.
- The hormones estrogen and progesterone have been linked to tumors, and breastfeeding acts as a natural contraceptive, lowering hormone levels to the extent that a woman’s menstrual cycle is halted.
Whether or not you breastfeed, there are lifestyle choices you can make to keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Limiting alcohol
- Eating nutritious food
- Never smoking(or quitting if you do smoke)
Dr.Ann Mini Mathew
Aster Hospital, Mankhool