Can Breastfeeding Cause Breast Cancer?

There have been a number of studies that show a direct link between breastfeeding and breast cancer, but it may not be what you think. While there are some women who fear that breastfeeding can actually cause breast cancer or increase their risk of developing this type of cancer, the opposite is actually true. In fact, there has been research showing that women who breastfed their children for more than six months had additional protection from both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer.

When you breastfeed, you generally don’t have a period, and this reduces a woman’s exposure to certain hormones, including estrogen. Estrogen has long been linked to promoting growth of breast cancer cells. In addition to decreasing exposure to estrogen, when women are pregnant and while they breastfeed they actually shed breast tissue cells. This can cause damaged cells to be shed, which may reduce the risk of breast cancer at a later time. While some women do get diagnosed with breast cancer while breastfeeding, it is a very small percentage of women.

Not only will breastfeeding help protect the mother from developing breast cancer, but it will also provide the child with a number of health benefits, making this an obvious choice for any mother who is able to breastfeed.

For more info about breastfeeding, check out our Breastfeeding FAQs post: 100 Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms.

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