Hormone-receptor-negative (HRN) breast cancers are more likely to be aggressive and life-threatening. They are more commonly diagnosed in women under the age of 50 years. HRN breast cancer are more often deadly because they tend to be diagnosed at later stages, respond to fewer treatment options, and are less likely to be cured by current therapies. A new study has revealed that women who breastfeed may have up to 20% reduced risk of developing HRN breast cancer.
One of the researchers Marisa Weiss from Lankenau Medical Center in Pennsylvania, US, said, "Breastfeeding is a relatively accessible, low-cost, short-term strategy that yields long-lasting natural protection."
‘Hormone-receptor-negative (HRN) breast cancers are more serious as they are diagnosed at later stages, respond to fewer treatment options and are less likely to be cured by current therapies. A new study revealed the long-term protection of breastfeeding against the most aggressive subtypes of breast cancer to be very encouraging.
For the study, researchers analyzed 27 distinct studies involving a total of 36,881 breast cancer cases. The study said, "This meta-analysis showed a protective effect of ever breastfeeding against hormone receptor-negative breast cancers, which are more common in younger women and generally have a poorer prognosis than other subtypes of breast cancer."
Weiss said, "Further evidence to support the long-term protection of breastfeeding against the most aggressive subtypes of breast cancer is very encouraging and actionable."
These findings highlight the need for more public health strategies that directly inform women and girls about the maternal (and fetal) benefits of breastfeeding before and during a woman's child-bearing years. The researchers said, "It is also important for these women to have the message reinforced by their healthcare professionals."
The study findings suggest that it is critical to remove the barriers to breastfeeding at home, in the community and in the workplace.
The study was published in Annals of Oncology.