Breastfeeding Can Prevent Breast Cancer: Myth or Fact?

Breastfeeding Can Prevent Breast Cancer Myth or Fact

Everyone knows that breastfeeding brings so many benefits for the baby. For example, the antibody contained in breastmilk can increase the baby's body immune system. Breastfeeding is also one activity that creates a strong bond between moms and babies. Speaking of the advantages of breastfeeding, have you ever heard that this activity can prevent breast cancer as well?

According to the data published by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, breastfeeding moms have a lower risk of breast cancer, before and after menopause. Breastfeeding more than 6 months is also beneficial in giving additional protection. Because during breastfeeding, a mom's body experiences hormonal changes that delay the menstrual period.

This somewhat makes her less exposed to hormones such as estrogen that can trigger the growth of cancer cells. Moreover, when women are pregnant and breastfeeding, breast tissues will shed, helping to remove cells that can potentially trigger DNA damages. So, it helps to lower the possibility of breast cancer.

How Can Breastfeeding Prevent Breast Cancer?

The idea of breastfeeding can prevent breast cancer has been attracting researchers' attention across the globe. A lot of studies have been conducted to see the relation between breastfeeding and the risk of breast cancer. A study showed that women who breastfeed their infants for at least a year, experience a decrease of breast cancer as much as 4% compared to those who don't breastfeed.

Another study in the United States mentioned that women with a family history of breast cancer have a lower risk of the cancer when they breastfeed. Several things that can explain how breastfeeding can decrease the risk of breast cancer are as follows:

  • Maintain Cell Health

Breastfeeding makes the breast cells to produce breastmilk, preventing the cells from misbehaving and turning into a cancer cell.

  • Control Hormones

Breastfeeding will prolong the period of not having menstruation after giving birth. So, the body will be less exposed to estrogen hormones. Estrogen is one of the factors that cause breast cancer. When the body is less exposed to this hormone, the risk of breast cancer will lower as well.

  • Help to Control Dietary Habit

Breastfeeding women tend to be more careful and concerned about what they eat to maintain their breastmilk quality. They also avoid bad habits during breastfeed, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and so on. This healthy diet surely helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Breastfeeding Tips to Prevent Breast Cancer

In order to get optimally get the benefits of breastfeeding, moms should breastfeed in a proper way. Here are several tips that can be followed.
  • Keep a good dietary habit by limiting the intake of sugar, salt, and fat. Also, avoid consuming processed and fast food.
  • If possible, have more direct breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke and consuming alcohol.
  • Consult the doctor before consuming medicines.

Breastfeeding Can Also Prevent Ovarian Cancer

Besides reduce the risk of breast cancer, breastfeeding can also lower the risk of ovarian cancer as well by preventing ovulation. The fewer ovulation periods, the less exposure to estrogen and abnormal cells that can become cancerous. In order to get this benefit, breastfeeding moms should breastfeed at least for 6 months.

Studies showed that health benefits and reduced cancer risk become significant at 6 months and beyond. According to a study published by Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factor in Breast Cancer, it was revealed that women lower their risk of breast cancer by 4.3% when they breastfeed for at least 12 months.

Breastfeeding women also decrease their risk of ovarian cancer by 63 percent when they breastfeed for more than 13 months, compared to those who breastfeed for less than 7 months. Moreover, those who breastfeed more than one kid for over 31 months are up to 91 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who breastfeed for less than 10 months.

Breastfeeding does not only lower the risk of cancer, but also help to protect the baby against overweight or obesity in the future. Also, breastmilk provides benefits that can strengthen the baby's immune system as it contains antibody. This helps to decrease the risk of issues in the digestive system, respiratory system, and ear infections.

Moreover, research showed that a baby will less likely develop allergies when they are breastfeed for a longer time. Live a healthier lifestyle to minimize the risk of breast and ovarian cancer even further.

What If a Mom Doesn't Breastfeed?

Some women cannot breastfeed for various reasons. So, what if a woman does not breastfeed? Fortunately, there are still other ways that can be done to lower the risk of breast cancer. Women who don't breastfeed can prevent breast and ovarian cancer by keeping their daily dietary habit healthy.

Consume various and nutritious food, workout on a regular basis, and avoid bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol. Also, do not forget to check your own breasts and be alert if you notice any abnormal changes in your breasts.

How to Prevent Breast Cancer

If you don't breastfeed, don't worry. Here are things you can do to prevent breast cancer.

  • Keep Your Body Weight Ideal

Overweight or obesity is one of the factors that cause cancer, especially for elderly and postmenopausal women. This is why keeping your bodyweight ideal becomes one of the ways to lower the risk of breast cancer. Excessive fat in the body can trigger the increased production of estrogen drastically, leading to breast cancer.

So, consume low-calorie food and make sure to exercise to keep your bodyweight ideal and stable. You are suggested to workout at least 30 minutes every day.

  • Consume Healthy Food

It is not a secret anymore that healthy food brings a bunch of benefits for health, including preventing serious illnesses like cancer. Consume healthy food every day, such as fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Also, reduce the intake of fatty food. Drink enough water and get enough sleep as well.

  • Limit Hormone Therapy

Women who are already in the menopause stage usually undergo a therapy hormone to balance the hormone level in their bodies. However, estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy are generally long-term and increase the risk of breast cancer. So, if you really need this therapy, consult the doctor first about the sufficient hormone level.

Faisal "The successful warrior is the average man, with laserlike focus." - Bruce Lee

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