Breastfeeding Reduces Recurrence of Breast Cancer, Says Kaiser Study

Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, results showed that women who had previously breastfed their babies had a 30% overall decreased risk of their breast cancer recurring.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer who previously breastfed their babies had a 30% overall decreased risk of the disease recurring, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In addition, researchers found that the protective effect of breastfeeding was more pronounced for tumors of particular genetic subtypes, including the most commonly diagnosed of all breast cancers.

The study involved 1636 women with breast cancer who completed a questionnaire that included breastfeeding history. Additional medical data were obtained from medical chart reviews and Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect, a comprehensive electronic health record.

"This is the first study we're aware of that examined the role of breastfeeding history in cancer recurrence, and by tumor subtype," said Marilyn L. Kwan, PhD, research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and lead author of the study.

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