Breastfeeding & Breast Cancer
October 24, 2014 | By Elizabeth Lim |
As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Thankfully, there are many things that we can do to decrease our risk for breast cancer. With more and more research being done every year, physicians are offering more ways to educate and protect women from this often deadly disease.
I couldn’t be more proud to be an advocate of breast feeding than during this month. Did you know that breastfeeding decreases a woman’s risk for breast cancer? Let’s take a closer look at this awesome statistic.
Nurse your baby, Nurse yourself
According to the website BreastCancer.org, a non-profit educational resource with the most up-to-date research on breast cancer, a woman who breastfeeds for at least a year lowers her risk of breast cancer more than if she’d nursed for less than a year. If she continues to breastfeed for more than a year, her risk continues to decrease.
For every 12 months that a woman breastfeeds, the risk of breast cancer decreases by 4.3% compared to other women who do not breastfeed. (via cancer.org)
There are many reasons for this including the fact that if a breast is making milk, breast cells are not allowed the resources to do anything that would harm the body. It’s sort of amazing, isn’t it? The body naturally wants to take care of itself when providing nourishment to a child.
During breastfeeding, a woman’s estrogen levels are generally lower.This also decreases the risk of breast cancer.
As we try to take better care of ourselves while breastfeeding our children – eating well and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol – we’re also lowering our risk of breast cancer as well.
In other words, taking care of your child benefits you as well!
Other Prevention Methods
I would be remiss to write an article about breast health and fail to mention other methods of breast cancer prevention. The Susan G. Komen Foundation offers a 4 step process to have breast health awareness:
- Know your risk – it is helpful to understand your family’s medical history
- Get screened – get regular breast exams with your doctor
- Know what is normal for you – check yourself every month so that you will recognize changes in your breasts
- Make healthy lifestyle choices – take care of your weight, your nutrition, your exercise and definitely breastfeed as long as you can.
While you’re nursing your beautiful baby, remember that your baby is getting the healthiest nutrition and you’re building more health for you too.