Breast Feeding & Breast Cancer
Now, this is not meant to be medical advice, so please do not take it as that.
Each year in Singapore, 1850 women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer and over 400 die from it.
Studies from around the world have shown that in the longterm, breastfeeding your child, especially for longer than a period of one year, may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
However, it is an extremely complex issue and the result are not conclusive...it is certainly not so straightforward to say "I breastfed my child, I won't get breast cancer".
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of developing breast cancer, particularly if you have your children when you are younger. The longer you breastfeed the more the risk is reduced.
It is not completely clear why this is. But the reduced risk might be because the ovaries don't produce eggs so often during breastfeeding. Or it might be because breastfeeding changes the cells in the breast so they might be more resistant to changes that lead to cancer. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/breast-cancer/risks-causes/protective-factors
Breastfeeding is not a cancer prevention method.
MuMu Mummy's founder, Tina, was pregnant and diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after weaning her youngest daughter [Hi, this is Tina's husband writing this here, and I'm tearing as I type this sentence, I always do]. Like many women who breastfeed, lumps and bumps can be fairly common; engorgement, blocked ducts, mastitis...and they are often dismissed as one of these. Just as Tina did initially.
After telling me on January 1st 2018 that she had a lump [Happy New Year!] we went to the doctor and not long after it was confirmed as breast cancer, but not after initially being presumed as leftover milk by the doctor. Two things then happened very shortly after; 1. the lump didn't go away and it was painful when Tina tried to massage it out. 2. We were pregnant.
It was only when we found out that we were pregnant that the doctor said that this lump cannot stay unchecked and we need to check this out.
It is possible to develop breast cancer while breast-feeding a baby, but it is rare. Breast-feeding women account for 3 percent of breast cancer cases. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322004.php
Actually whilst pregnant and breastfeeding a woman's hormones can spike, hormones such as estrogen. Certain cancer cells can be receptive estrogen, which was the case with Tina's.
Now, we are all told about the benefits of breastfeeding, and they are real...both for your infant and for yourself...but we had no idea that such a thing could happen as a result of breastfeeding, the knowledge and information just isn't there.
Of course, if you can, you should breastfeed. This is not an article to discourage you from doing so. It is, however, a plea...a plea for you be informed on this, do your research, speak to your doctor and please please please, do not just dismiss any lumps and as blocked ducts, leftover milk or engorgement.
IF YOU FIND A LUMP, AND YOU ARE UNEASY ABOUT IT...IF IT IS PAINFUL...IF IT DOESN'T GO AWAY...VISIT A BREAST SPECIALIST.
For more information, visit www.SingaporeCancerSociety.org.sg
From 1 Oct 2019 to 31 Jan 2020, Singapore Cancer Society is offering $25 funding assistance for your mammogram screening.