Did you know...
that breastfeeding before age 30 will reduce a woman's total number of lifetime menstrual cycles, which is thought to be the reason they help LOWER your risk of breast cancer. The hormone estrogen fuels 80% of all breast cancers. Since pregnancy and lactation reduce your estrogen levels, your risk is decreased each time you are pregnant and while you are nursing your baby.
How Long Should you Breastfeed?
While this is a very personal decision, studies show that breastfeeding for one and a half to two years over one's lifetime will reduce your risk of breast cancer slightly.
AND A study of Chinese women found that their breast cancer incidence dropped by 63% when they breastfed for FIVE years or more.
Though that tends to be longer than most choose to do so, your reduced risk can be determined by the cumulative amount of time you've spent breastfeeding over the course of your life. For example, if you had three babies and nursed each for six months, your cumulative breastfeeding time of one and a half years would serve to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer!
There are several theories about how breastfeeding protects you from developing breast cancer:
Your lifetime exposure to estrogen is reduced, which decreases the possibility of developing estrogen-fueled breast cancer.
Your hormone balances are different during lactation, resulting in fewer menstrual cycles and less estrogen exposure.
Environmental carcinogens that are stored in fat, which makes up a great part of the breast, cannot be efficiently stored in lactating breasts.
Breastfeeding may cause changes to breast cells that make them more resistant to cancer-related mutations.