Breastfeeding for more than six months can protect against breast cancer – if you are a non-smoker.
The same does not seem to hold true for mothers who smoke.
The medical records of 504 women patients aged 19-91 who had been treated for breast cancer were analysed at the San Cecilio University Hospital in Granada.
It revealed that women who had given birth and who breastfed were diagnosed with breast cancer at a later age, regardless of the patients’ family history of the disease.
Non-smokers who breastfed for periods longer than six months were diagnosed with breast cancer an average of 10 years later than non-smokers who breastfed for a shorter period.
By contrast the mothers who smoked were diagnosed with breast cancer at a much younger age and got no significant advantage from breastfeeding for longer periods.
“The results suggest that for nonsmokers, breastfeeding for more than six months not only provides children with numerous health benefits, but it also may protect mothers from breast cancer,” said Dr. Emilio González-Jiménez who carried out the study with colleagues.
The results are published online in the Journal of Clinical Nursing