By Ian Johnston
Breastfeeding could cut the chance of the mother getting breast cancer by up to 20 per cent, according to a major international study.
Researchers examined data about more than 750,000 women in four continents over some 30 years and found that breastfeeding appeared to have a far more dramatic benefit for the mother than previously thought, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Britain has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding among developed countries with only one per cent following official advice to give their baby breast milk only until they are six months old.
Dr Graham Colditz, associate director of prevention and control at Washington University School of Medicine’s cancer centre, who took part in the study, told the Telegraph: “Broader uptake of breastfeeding and completing up to 12 weeks of breastfeeding for each baby can significantly reduce the subsequent risk of breast cancer.”
The researchers’ analysis, which will be presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas, found breastfeeding had a significant effect on the chance of the mother later getting breast cancer.
“Breastfeeding is a powerful strategy to reduce the risk of several aggressive breast cancer subtypes, with a relative risk reduction of approximately 10 per cent to 20 per cent,” the study said.