Breast Cancer Prevention and Childbearing

We are halfway through “pink October”, the month in which special attention is given to breast cancer awareness, prevention and healing. Here’s something I’ll bet you haven’t seen in the big media: Childbearing lowers the risk of breast cancer.

A 2002 newspaper article I recently found by Emma Ross was titled: “Breast-feeding protects from cancer” and sub-titled “Having more childlren can also reduce chance of breast cancer.” Ross points out that childbearing was linked to breast cancer in 1743 when “an Italian researcher called the disease an occupational hazard of nuns.” My single aunt also developed breast cancer.

In July 2002, a research of 20,000 women called the Million Women Study found that the risks go down the more children you have. Non-breastfeeding mothers lowered their risk of breast cancer by 7% for every additional child they had. Breast cancer also dropped 4.3% for every year the women breastfed.

What do some organizations state about having children and breast cancer?  The National Cancer Institute said in 2016 that the risk of breast cancer declines with the number of children borne. Women who have given birth to five or more children have half the breast cancer risk of women who have not given birth. The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute said in 2007 that the age at which a woman chooses to have children also influences the breast cancer risk. Compared to a woman who gives birth at 30, a woman who has a full-term pregnancy before age 20 has only one-third the risk of breast cancer. By having children early in their reproductive life, women can greatly reduce their breast cancer risk.

Sheila Kippley

Comments are closed.