Breastfeeding doesn’t just benefit baby; it could help mommy avoid ovarian cancer. A new study being published in next month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has discovered a 91 percent reduction in ovarian cancer for breastfeeding moms.
The study’s results are promising given that ovarian cancer is the ninth most common type of cancer among women in the United States. Ovarian cancer is also the fifth leading cause of death among women in the US.
The new breastfeeding study was conducted by Curtin University in Australia and included 493 patients who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Researchers compared their participants to 472 controls who were hospitalized for non-related reasons. The average age of participants in the study was 59 years old.
Researchers asked women how many children they had and whether or not they breastfed. Mothers were also asked how long they breastfed for all of their children combined.
The study found that women who breastfed for more than 13 months were 63 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who breastfed for less than seven months. Women who breastfed for 31 months were 91 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer.
Researchers believe that breastfeeding helps fight ovarian cancer by delaying ovulation. As more ovulation cycles occur, the risk of cell mutations leads to a greater chance of ovarian cancer.
The study is good for the 76.9 percent of new mothers who chose to breastfeed in 2009. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that only 47.2 percent of women continue to breastfeed their children at six months old and only 25.5 percent breastfeed past 12 months.
[Image via ShutterStock]