Breastfeed to help cut cancer risk
MOTHER’S milk is not only good for baby it holds another amazing secret — it can save women’s lives by dramatically cutting the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Early life nutrition experts are using Mother’s Day to warn Australian mums they may be placing themselves at increased risk of cancer because they stop breast feeding too soon.
And the Australian Breastfeeding Association is calling for Medicare rebates for lactation consultants to help women struggling with breastfeeding. A review of breastfeeding studies has calculated that women who breast feed for a year reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 26 per cent and their risk of ovarian cancer by up to 37 per cent.
They also cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 32 per cent. Experts are not sure how breastfeeding works to prevent cancer but suggest it’s because it lowers levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone that are linked to tumours.
The World Health Organisation recommends mothers exclusively breast feed their babies for the first six months of their life because breast milk contains good bacteria and helps babies fight viruses and infections.