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Breastfeeding for over six months can delay onset of breast cancer by 10 years

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"New research has discovered that breastfeeding is so effective against the onset of breast cancer that it can delay the onset of the disease by 10 years. The only problem with the findings, apart from the apparent bias within nature against women who choose not to have children is that breastfeeding only seems to protect those who have breastfed for over six months and who do not smoke.

"The authors of a Spanish study of 504 female breast cancer patients aged 19 to 91, published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, concluded that instances of breast cancer could be dramatically cut is people were able to breastfeed for long periods of time.

""Breastfeeding for periods of over six months not only provides children with numerous health benefits, but also protects the mother from serious diseases such as breast cancer," says the research, led by Emilio González-Jiminéz of the University of Granada.

"Women who didn’t smoke and who breastfed their baby for at least six months were diagnosed with the disease at an average age of 68.4 years, more than a decade later than either non-smokers who had never breastfed or done so for less than three months who were diagnosed at 58 years. Non smokers who had breastfed for between three and six months were surprisingly enough diagnosed even earlier – at 57 years. The study also suggested that breastfeeding reduces a woman's risk of breast cancer by 4.3% annually.

"In a worrying development though, female smokers who breastfed received no such benefits, no matter how long they breastfed for.

"Based on these findings, the incidence of this disease could be reduced from 6.3% to 2.7% if women breastfed their children for more than six months," the authors say. A move away from breastfeeding is a crucial factor behind an increase in breast cancer cases, they added. The reasons for the dramatic shifts in diagnosed ages seems to be the reduction in oestrogen levels that breastfeeding induces.

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