A new Canadian study suggests that breastfeeding for one or two years could dramatically reduce the chances that women with one of the two identified "breast cancer gene" mutations could dramatically reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
Women who carry the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutations are about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not have this mutation. Some women who carry this gene choose to have mascectomies in order to prevent the development of the disease.
The Telegraph reports:
Almost 6,000 women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes were included in the study, with around half having already been diagnosed with cancer.
The women were matched to each other as closely as possible, including number of births, age and body weight, giving 1665 pairs to be analysed.
The cancer sufferers had breastfed for an average of two months less than those without cancer.
It was calculated that breastfeeding for one year reduced the risk of cancer by 32 per cent and for two or more years cut it by almost half.
The study did not find the same association for the BRCA2 gene, suggesting that the etiology of the disease is different.