In the largest study to date of reproductive factors and breast cancer risk in Hispanic women, researchers have found important links between breastfeeding and a reduced risk of breast cancer.
The researchers – including an epidemiologist from the University of Washington School of Public Health – pooled data for nearly 6,000 Hispanic women from four previous studies conducted between 1995 and 2007 in the United States and Mexico. They found that women with a history of breastfeeding had a 17 percent lower risk of breast cancer.
Results were similar for pre- and post-menopausal women. Results were also similar for women whose cancer cells were sensitive to the body’s naturally occurring female hormones – estrogen and progesterone – and those whose cancer cells were not.
“There is a wealth of data showing that women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer,” said Dr. Amanda Phipps, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health. “Through this study, we were able to extend these findings to an important but understudied population: Hispanic women.”
The study was published May 1 in the journal Epidemiology. Ms. Meera Sangaramoorthy, formerly of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, was the study’s lead author. She is now a research data analyst at the University of California, San Francisco.Friday Letter Submission