Some more good news for women who breastfeed their babies. A large international study found an association between breastfeeding and an average 24% lower incidence of ovarian cancer years later (when compared to women who never breastfed).
But if you look at the results more closely, you see that the longer the woman breastfeeds, the lower the risk of ovarian cancer - so that breastfeeding for 3 months was associated with an 18% lower risk, while breastfeeding for 12 months or more is associated with a 34% lower risk.
From Medical Xpress: Breastfeeding linked to lower ovarian cancer risk
An international study involving researchers from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has found women who breastfeed their babies may lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer by almost 25 percent.
The research also shows the longer a woman breastfeeds, the greater the reduction in risk.
Senior Australian author and head of QIMR Berghofer's Gynaecological Cancers Group, Professor Penelope Webb, said breastfeeding was associated with a lower risk of developing all ovarian cancers, including the most lethal type called high-grade serous tumors.
"Overall, the risk of developing ovarian cancer dropped by 24 percent for women who breastfed, and even those who breastfed their children for three months or less had about an 18 percent lower risk of developing ovarian cancer," Professor Webb said.
"Mothers who breastfed their children for more than 12 months each had a 34 percent lower risk.
"Importantly, this benefit of breastfeeding lasted for at least 30 years after a woman stopped breastfeeding."
Only about 45 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive at least five years after their diagnosis.
Professor Webb said the international study involved researchers from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium, who examined data from 9973 women with ovarian cancer and 13,843 control women from studies conducted around the world.
"The study results show a link between breastfeeding and reduced ovarian cancer rates, and reinforce the World Health Organization's recommendations that mothers should exclusively breast feed for at least six months if they can and continue doing so, with the addition of complementary foods, for two or more years.
"The research also shows that breastfeeding for even a short period of time may help reduce cancer risk.