Some of the mechanisms that enable breasts to lactate could also lead to the accumulation of abnormal breast cells.
The link between breastfeeding and breast cancer has been the subject of several studies. The National Cancer Institute quote some research which suggests that immediately after pregnancy and childbirth, a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is higher.
However, this risk is temporary, and overall, scientists believe that breastfeeding lowers the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Only 3 percent of women with breast cancer develop the condition when they are breastfeeding.
New research helps illuminate the link between breastfeeding and breast cancer, as scientists reveal how a molecular mechanism that is a natural part of the breastfeeding process can be “hijacked” by breast cancer cells and used to help them survive.
Anni Wärri, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., led the new study, which was published in the journal Cell Death Discovery.