Breast­feed to help cut can­cer risk

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS -

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.

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