Breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk


A study published in the British journal The Lancet, which drew on 28 previous studies to calculate global data, came to the conclusion that spreading breastfeeding around the world would have a huge impact on global health. More than 800,000 newborn deaths would be avoided each year – 13% of all deaths of children under two years old.

The study also concluded that around 20,000 deaths of mothers caused by breast cancer would be avoided annually.

The numerous benefits of breastfeeding for the baby are well known. On the other hand, the benefits for the health of the mother are much less widespread. One of them is reducing a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. A study by Curtin University in Australia reveals that with each year of breastfeeding, the risk decreases by 4.3%.

“During pregnancy and breastfeeding, a woman renews breast tissue, which can help remove cells with DNA damage, reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, we believe that reducing a woman’s menstrual cycles contributes to the reduction of risk”, explains the mastologist Fábio Botelho.

Mastologist Fábio Botelho

The duration of breastfeeding is decisive in reducing the risk, as is the mother’s age. “Studies show the percentage of risk reduction for each year of breastfeeding. And we also know that the most benefited women are the younger ones. who breastfeeds these children for one or two years, is the one that manages to reduce the risk of having a breast tumor the most”, adds the specialist.

“This protection is related to hormones. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, women produce less hormones related to the development of breast cancer. It is a protection, but it must always be associated with healthy lifestyle habits, such as not smoking, having a good diet , practice physical activities, maintain an adequate weight and avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages, since breast cancer has multifactorial causes. And we cannot forget the importance of early diagnosis, which is ensured by consultations and preventive exams”, highlights Fabio Botelho.

The Brazilian Society of Mastology recommends bilateral mammography, annually, from the age of 40, and consultation with a specialist.

Golden August – The month begins with World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), from 1st to 7th of August. The movement was established in 1992 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in defense of breastfeeding.

In 2022, the theme of SMAM is “Strengthening breastfeeding: educating and supporting”, and the main objective is to inform the population in general about the importance of supporting breastfeeding for collective health.

In Brazil, encouraging breastfeeding is law. In 2017, the Brazilian National Congress instituted, through law number 13,435, the Breastfeeding Month: Golden August, alluding to the WHO definition of breast milk: golden food.

In Brazil, 6 out of 10 children are breastfed until 2 years of age and 46% of babies are exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age. The World Health Organization has set a global goal of reaching 50% by 2025.

The month is dedicated to informing and debating the importance of breastfeeding babies. All over the world, campaigns in favor of breastfeeding are carried out by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, present in 150 countries, with the purpose of promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding – fundamental for the health of babies and mothers.

INCA – Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women, in Brazil and in the world, after non-melanoma skin cancer. It corresponds to about 22% of new cancer cases diagnosed each year. The Inca estimate is 66,280 new cases of breast cancer for each year of the 2020-2022 triennium.

Late diagnosis, still prevalent in Brazil, greatly increases the severity of the disease and mortality rates. On the other hand, if breast cancer is diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, the prognosis is very good. Chances of healing are over 90%.

Breast cancer mortality rates remain high in Brazil because the disease is still diagnosed in advanced stages.

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