The 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: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/7/5/365.short
Breastfeeding may cut mothers’ risk of ovarian cancer by up to 91 percent: http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/13884/20130114/breastfeeding-cut-mothers-risk-ovarian-cancer-up.htm
Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199401133300201
Ovarian cancer risk is reduced by prolonged lactation: a case-control study in southern China: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/01/02/ajcn.112.044719.abstract
Symptoms of ovarian cancer: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ovarian/basic_info/symptoms.htm
Toddler Breastfeeding: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lactancia_2_a%C3%B1os.jpg