Breast cancer has emerged as a common scare among women and one’s susceptibility to it varies from person to person. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that a lot of factors come into play when it comes to breast cancer. Among them, there are some factors like alcohol intake and weight that can be changed, while others, like family history, age are beyond one’s control.
While it is also commonly believed that childbirth can reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer, as per a new study, quoted in a report in Medical News Today, it might not be entirely true. Researchers have concluded that childbirth might not lead to protection against breast cancer risk instantly. In fact, it might take a considerably long time. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also deduced that childbirth helps in averting breast cancer risk in women only after a certain age.
Younger women who have just given birth, according to the study, run a high risk of suffering from the condition. In order to arrive at the result, data from 15 studies from all over the world were examined. Around eight lakh women were studied by the scientists. They focussed on factors, like breastfeeding and family history of cancer, that were previously not considered. The study inferred that the risk of breast cancer was high in women who had given birth and were aged 55 or younger.
Apparently, women are at most risk after five years from giving birth. Mothers in this age range, at this time, have 80 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than those who have not given birth. The authors of the study have narrowed down three categories of women who are most at danger from suffering from this condition – those who had more children, those who already had some family history of breast cancer or those who were older while giving birth the first time.
One of the most important conclusions of the study remains that the high risk of suffering from cancer risk diminishes, even disappears 23 years after childbirth. The protection from childbirth happens almost two decades later.
“What most people know, that women who have children tend to have lower breast cancer risk than women who have not had children, but that really comes from what breast cancer looks like for women in their 60s and beyond. We found that it can take more than 20 years for childbirth to become protective for breast cancer, and that before that, breast cancer risk was higher in women who had recently had a child,” said Hazel B. Nichols, Ph.D, based at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.