Women who breastfeed their children are at lesser risk of developing cancer of the uterus, researchers at the QIMR Berghofer medical research institute in Australia have said.
Susan Jordan, head of the cancer causes and care research group at QIMR Berghofer, said that women who breastfeed at least one child have a lower risk of contracting uterine cancer.
According to Jordan, the research into the link between breastfeeding and this form of cancer was the largest ever undertaken, with the team at QIMR Berghofer analysing data collected from over 26,000 Australian women, with over 9,000 of those having uterine cancer.
“We found that the longer women breast-fed each child, the more their risk of uterine cancer reduced, up until nine months when the reduction in risk plateaued,” Jordan said.
“We looked at the total amount of time these women had spent breastfeeding over the course of their lives.
“We found that women who had ever breastfed had an 11 percent lower risk of developing uterine cancer than women who had never breastfed.”
The result of the research also revealed a correlation between the duration of breastfeeding and subsequent lowering of the likelihood of contracting uterus cancer.
The result showed that women who breastfed for three to six months have a seven percent less risk of cancer, and women who breastfed for six to nine months have their risk reduced by 11 percent.
“In other words, a woman who breastfed two children for nine months each had around a 22 percent lower risk of uterus cancer than a woman who had never breastfed her children,” Jordan said.
Noting that not every woman is able to breastfeed, Jordan said there are other things that women can do to lower the risk of endometrial, or uterus cancer.
“Having a baby reduces your risk, similarly taking the oral contraceptive pill can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer; but probably the best thing to do is make sure you have a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
“Eat well, avoid putting on weight, and exercise regularly, these are all key things to reduce the risk of uterus cancer.”
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