Study: Big baby link to breast cancer
Giving birth to a big baby increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 53%, according to a new report.
The study could help to identify women who should be offered preventative drugs or more frequent screening.
Giving birth prematurely also increases the risk of breast cancer, the study suggested. The findings add to evidence that hormonal and biological changes during pregnancy play an important role in women’s vulnerability to the disease.
Having children is known to cut a woman’s chance of breast cancer in the long term but until now no major studies had looked at whether the type of pregnancy affected these risks.
The study did not prove a causal link but levels of hormones such as oestrogen, known to influence breast cancer, are higher with big babies.
Anthony Swerdlow, of the Institute of Cancer Research, which led the study, said: “Pregnancy makes a large difference to women’s subsequent breast cancer risk, and it seems reasonable that if pregnancy affects risk, the type of pregnancy might matter too.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, said: “We can now go on to investigate why these aspects of pregnancy may increase breast cancer risk.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan