Researchers at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, analyzed 1,600 women who were diagnosed with the disease and discovered that the ones who nursed their babies had a 30 percent decreased risk of the most common type of breast cancers coming back. If that weren't reason enough to jump for joy, the data also showed that breastfeeding moms had a 28 percent reduced risk of dying from breast cancer.
These promising findings piggyback on earlier research about the health benefits of nursing. "If a woman breastfeeds, she reduces her risk of developing breast cancer by about 5 percent to 10 percent, although other factors come into play," Marilyn Kwan, leader of the study, which was published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, said in a statement. "We think this is one of the first [studies] to examine the role of breastfeeding and breast cancer outcomes—prognosis and survival."
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Doctors are still trying to nail down how and why breastfeeding offers such super hero protection for mamas—matured ductal cells in the breast and a lowered exposure to hormones that promote cancers are two guesses—but no matter. This study may not be as flashy as, say, a Sex Pistols-inspired tub of breast milk ice cream, but considering how many of our moms, sisters, and friends are battling the disease, I think it's much more exciting.