Breastfeeding may help those with family history of cancer



Breastfeeding may lower the risk of breast cancer in women with a family history of the disease, a new study has found.

In the study of more than 60,000 women, researchers from the US found that women who had a first-degree relative with breast cancer had a lower risk of developing the disease if they breastfed.

The association did not appear to change based on duration of breastfeeding, whether breastfeeding was exclusive, or whether the woman experienced amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) as a result.

There was no association between breastfeeding and breast cancer among women without a family history.

Women with a family history of the disease who did not breastfeed but used medication to suppress breast milk production also appeared to have a lower risk of breast cancer, compared to women who neither breastfed nor used lactation suppression.

“Future studies of interactions among breastfeeding history, family history and genotypes associated with breast cancer risk will be needed to confirm these associations and explore underlying mechanisms,” the researchers said.

“But breastfeeding is associated with multiple other health benefits for both mother and child. And these data suggest that women with a family history of breast cancer should be strongly encouraged to breastfeed.”

The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Source: Irish