The incidence of breast cancer has now been shown as lowered in women who breastfeed their infant for at least several months. Additionally, there are proven health benefits for the baby as well.

A recent study from researchers in Sweden’s University of Linkoping, and County Hospital and Norway’s University of Tromso focused on the link between cancer mortality rates and breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding improves breast cancer survival rate

They found that women who had breastfed for over six months found to have a better shot at getting cured as breast cancer patients.

Further, it was observed that even after years of cancer surgery the women who breastfed have better overall survival rate.The group of researchers observed a group of women who underwent breast cancer surgery for a period of 20 years and came to the conclusion.

Editor-in-chief of Breastfeeding Medicine, Arthur I. Eidelman says ‘This study confirms that the long-term maternal health benefits of breastfeeding are not only preventative in nature, but that it also has the capacity to reduce the severity of breast cancer".

Another study found that the risk of recurrence of breast cancer is 30% less in women who breastfed. And yet another research concludes that women who breastfed are less likely to be affected by aggressive types of breast cancer.

In Singapore, breast cancer ranks first among the top ten cancers affecting Singapore women. From 1968 to 2002, the incidence of breast cancer increased three-fold among the ethnic groups of Chinese, Malays and Indians. Though, Asians are less-prone to breast cancer compared to their western counterparts the dramatic rise in breast cancer incidence in recent years puts the Asian ethnicity at the highest risk in future.

With the proven benefits of breastfeeding, greater awareness spread to new mothers might hold the key to improving the scenario.

Breast milk fights deadly bacteria attacking newborns

There is also new evidence from a recent study courtesy of researchers at Imperial College London that suggests that a natural sugar in breastmilk fends off the deadly Group B streptococcus bacterium from attacking infants.

They found that the sugar in breast milk secreted by most women across the world help in clearing the bacteria from the babies’ immune system effectively.

"Although this is early-stage research it demonstrates the complexity of breast milk, and the benefits it may have for the baby,” says the lead author Dr Nicholas Andreas from the Department of Medicine at Imperial.

He adds, “Increasingly, research is suggesting these breast milk sugars (human milk oligosaccharides) may protect against infections in the newborn, such as rotavirus and Group B streptococcus, as well as boosting a child's "friendly" gut bacteria." MIMS

Read more:
The ’Angelina Jolie effect’ and the downside of mammography
6 discoveries to fight breast cancer in 2016
Budget 2017: A closer look at the RM30 million allocation for women's healthcare
Singaporean experts say CA-125 test misused, pill should be encouraged to prevent ovarian cancer