Breastfeeding Significantly Reduces the Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Toddler BreastfeedingThe saying that breast is best usually refers to the significant benefits that breastfeeding provides a baby over formula feeding. However, breastfeeding is also best for mama. In addition to reducing the risk of breast cancer, breastfeeding also significantly reduces the risk of ovarian cancer among mother who breastfed versus mothers who never breastfed. Furthermore, the risk reduction increases as the duration of breastfeeding increases.

According to a new study published in the February 2013 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, prolonged lactation is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

Mothers who breastfed for more than 13 months were 63% less likely to develop an ovarian tumor than mothers who breastfed for less than 7 months. Mothers with three children who breastfed for over 31 months were up to 91% less likely to develop ovarian cancer than mothers who breastfed for less than 10 months.

In other words, the longer that a woman breastfeeds, the lower her chances of developing an ovarian tumor or ovarian cancer.

Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, ovarian cancer is the ninth most prevalent cancer among women. Ovarian cancer is also the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women, largely because only 20% of ovarian tumors are caught early.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include usual vaginal bleeding, pelvic or abdominal pain, back pain, bloating, feeling full quickly while eating, and a change in bathroom habits.

Breastfeeding is thought to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by delaying ovulation.


Breastfeeding experience and breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women:
Breastfeeding may cut mothers’ risk of ovarian cancer by up to 91 percent:
Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer:
Ovarian cancer risk is reduced by prolonged lactation: a case-control study in southern China:
Symptoms of ovarian cancer:

Image Credits

Toddler Breastfeeding:

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a mother, wife, writer, librarian, and linguist. She earned a BA in English studies with a minor in creative writing from Illinois State University in May 2007, an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2009, and an MS in English studies with an emphasis in linguistics at Illinois State University in December 2011.

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