A mass of pink-wearing humanity wound its way through New York’s Central Park last weekend. Young, old, male, female, babies in strollers and young adults on roller skates all joined in to express support to family members who have suffered from breast cancer and to give a push to advocacy and prevention efforts. It was an impressive and heart-warming sight. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder if all those sincere and dedicated individuals have all the information that could help their loved ones.
So as October, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” winds to a close, it’s time to point out that one of the best ways to reduce the breast cancer rate is often entirely ignored. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the “progressive,” politically-correct narrative.
It can be summed up in one word: motherhood. There are numerous studies that show that both having children and breastfeeding reduce the risk of breast cancer. Having no children or having children late in life (after you’ve built that successful career) might fit the feminist paradigm, but it also will put you at greater risk for breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute lists “late childbirth” (over 30 years of age) as a risk factor for cancer.
A study that looked at 80 percent of the worldwide data on breast cancer and breastfeeding concluded that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer. In addition, the longer that a woman breastfeeds her baby, the more the risk is reduced. The study’s authors state:
“Our analyses here show that the relative risk of breast cancer is reduced by 4.3% (95% CI 2.9–5.8) for each year that a woman breastfeeds, in addition to a reduction of 7.0% (5.0–9.0) for each birth. These relations are significant and are seen consistently for women from developed and developing countries, of different ages and ethnic origins, and with various childbearing patterns and other personal characteristics.” *
Only about 50 percent of American mothers ever breastfeed and the average amount of time per child is only about three months. Women in the developed world breastfeed for shorter periods of time than women in the developing world (8.7 months vs. 29.2 months) and as you might guess, the breast cancer in the developing world is lower.
It is estimated that the incidence of breast cancer in developed nations could be cut in half if women would bear more children and breastfeed for longer periods of time (the relative risk of breast cancer declined 4.3% for each 12 months of breastfeeding and 7.0% for every birth).
You add to that the research that implicates abortion as a breast cancer risk and you realize that too many women have bought into a lifestyle and an ideology that threatens their very lives. In short, motherhood matters and if you don’t know it, ladies, your body does.
*Valerie Beral, et al, [Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer], “Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 women without the disease,” The Lancet, Volume 360, Number 9328 [20 July 2002], p. 187-195.