Bauman College Community Forum

Open Forum => Nutrition News & Research => Topic started by: ChristianaB on October 01, 2008, 06:33:36 PM

Title: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: ChristianaB on October 01, 2008, 06:33:36 PM
"Breastfeeding for a year over the course of a woman's life helps cut the risk of breast cancer, research says.

The World Cancer Research Fund analyzed 7,000 previous studies and found it reduced the risk by 4.8%.

Women have a one in nine chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime, meaning that the overall reduction in risk is just above 0.5%.

Researchers said it was important that women realized the positive effect of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding has been linked to lower obesity levels in children and is known to confer immunity to the newborn against a clutch of infections, including respiratory diseases.

However, a recent survey found that only one in four women in the UK knew breastfeeding cut the chance of them developing breast cancer.

Over three quarters of mothers initiate breastfeeding, but of this, only 22% are still breastfeeding at six months.

Breastfeeding has been found to lower the levels of some cancer-related hormones in the mother's body, reducing the risk of the disease.

At the end of breastfeeding, the body has also been found to rid itself of any cells in the breast that may have DNA damage. This reduces the risk of breast cancer developing in the future.

Lead researcher Dr Rachel Thompson said: "We want to get across the message that breastfeeding is something positive that women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer.

"Because the evidence that breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk is convincing, we recommend women should breastfeed exclusively for six months and then continue with complementary feeding after that."

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of information, said: "Aside from family history, age, a previous breast cancer and certain benign breast conditions, we know that the major things that affect a woman’s risk of breast cancer include how early and how many children she has, how early she starts her periods and how late the menopause begins, and whether or not she chooses to breastfeed."

Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: KellyT on October 03, 2008, 05:50:08 PM
When breastfeeding is treated as the biological norm, then it would be said that not breastfeeding increases a woman's risk of breast cancer.
Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: DeborahA on October 05, 2008, 11:17:51 AM
Kelly, I noticed you are a breastfeeding counselor. Our instructor made a claim the other day that "Breast milk is the most toxic food on the planet." A student logically asked "Should women not breast feed then?" I would love to hear your response on this matter.



BTW, I am a veteran breastfeeding mom: 5+ years of nursing my two sons!
Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: KellyT on October 07, 2008, 03:57:35 PM
Hi Deb

I was a DL student, so I never had the opportunity to sit in on any classes.

I have come across this statement before when a person is trying to make a shocking point about our polluted world. Breast milk is an easy substance to test to see what toxins are in our system, especially chemicals that store in fat tissue. Blood, urine, and hair samples do not contain fat, which is needed for some kinds of testing. Human milk does contain fat, so researchers prefer milk as a sample tissue.

Infants are exposed in utero to an unbelievable amount of substances. This has been documented in testing of cord blood in newborns. Chemicals that store in fat tissue literally affect us as humans for generations.

In my final presentation, I used this information from "To Eat or Not to Eat Organic" by Cindy Burke (2007):

In a 2005 study the umbilical cord blood of ten randomly selected newborns was collected by the Red Cross and tested extensively for contaminants. The Red Cross researchers found that 287 commercial chemicals, pesticides, and pollutants crossed the placental barrier. Among these substances were 21 different pesticides (Burke, p. 24). A study published in 2005 measured DAP (dialkyl phosphate, a common breakdown product of organophosphorus pesticides) in the urine of 23 children before and after switching to a diet of all organic foods. After five straight days on the exclusively organic diet, researchers found that pesticide levels in the children’s urine had decreased to undetectable levels, and remained that way until the children returned to eating conventionally grown foods. (Burke, p.25).

Breast milk contains many beneficial substances, such as white blood cells and immune factors. The World Health Organization (2001) calls colostrum "baby's first immunization" because of the many immune factors it contains.

The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other major health associations overwhelmingly support the importance of breastfeeding even in a contaminated world. Researchers agree that mothers should continue to breastfeed. Researcher Sonya Lunder writes "Breastfeeding provides significant health benefits to both mother and child. In fact, careful study...indicates that it might be even more important for mothers who are concerned about their exposure to toxic chemicals to breastfeed their babies." For example, human milk contains high levels of antioxidants, which may prove to be essential to compensate for any prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals.

Chemicals are present in the fat of animals as well, including cows. Any substitute given to a baby in place of breast milk has negative consequences. Soy formula, banned or restricted in many European countries, contains high levels of estrogens (the equivalent to 3-4 birth control pills a day) that negatively affect a growing child. In the US, the soy formula is virtually all from GMO soy, with its own dangers.

Frankly, the most prudent thing we can do is focus on reducing our exposure to toxic substances. Raising our children in the healthiest environment possible, including their consumption of organic food, will help us to have healthier grandchildren and a healthier world.

Julie Matthews, CNC in San Francisco is doing some wonderful work in this area. I hope to also educate and perform research in this area. Bauman was my first step into holistic nutrition and in 2009 I am sitting for the international exam to become a board-certified lactation consultant.

Thank you for bringing up this fascinating discussion!

Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: DeborahA on October 08, 2008, 08:16:43 PM
Kelly, Little did I realize when I asked for your opinion that it would be such a thorough and wonderfully readable response. I am going to cut and paste it into a Word document and keep it in my electronic files.

I am really glad you'll be getting your certification as a lactation counselor. What a great combination--having your NE (or NC?) training along with the lactation expertise. Even letting pregnant and nursing moms know about the findings with organic/non-organic foods in kids' diets will be incredibly valuable to our next generation.

BTW, how did the distance learning format work for you?

Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: KellyT on October 10, 2008, 10:07:42 PM
I really liked the DL format. I often did my work at night when the kids were in bed. The program took 11 months. When I started the twins were 10, Emily was 5 1/2 and Samantha was 20 months old. As time went on, we got into the habit of having my husband take the kids out to the library and a park on Sunday afternoons for 3-4 hours so I could work on my homework. That worked out really well. I would definitely consider doing the NC program DL also.
Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: DeborahA on October 13, 2008, 01:42:54 PM
Oh, glad to hear you've enjoyed the DL format. I'm completely impressed by the fact that you completed the program in 11 months what with your big family!

BTW, as a lactation consultant, you might be interested in the new doubling of the recommendations for vitamin D in breastfeeding mothers, infants, children, etc.
Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: KellyT on October 14, 2008, 10:46:31 AM
Yes, I saw the new "recommendations" this morning.

Vitamin D is meant to be made from sunlight. We are not meant to consume it. The reason it is low in breastmilk (20 IU/L) is because we are meant to synthesize it in the skin from cholesterol upon exposure to UVB radiation (sunshine), not because breastmilk is "deficient". As you may have noticed, the researchers behind this new recommendation have ties to formula manufacturers and the supplement industry. So in essence they are creating a recommendation that causes people to buy their products. If you tell everyone they need more vitamin D and that sunlight is dangerous (skin cancer warnings), then they will feel they need to buy supplements. If you tell pregnant or nursing moms that breastmilk is "deficient" in something, they will feel the need to either supplement with formula or to only feed formula. Notice in their recommendations that they mentioned that even moms supplementing breastfeeding with formula would be deficient. Pure scare tactics. It reminds me of the company pushing Gardasil.
Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: KellyT on October 14, 2008, 11:13:41 AM
Oh, glad to hear you've enjoyed the DL format. I'm completely impressed by the fact that you completed the program in 11 months what with your big family! want to be more impressed??

During the time I was working on the program:

I was homeschooling plus taking the kids to various classes in the community
I was an active La Leche League Leader (support group meetings plus phone help)
I was an active Attachment Parenting International support group leader (alone)
I built a successful AP group with over 35 families (monthly meetings and potlucks)
I ran a weekly park day for 16+ families
I built a lending library of over 100 books for the AP group (all of which I had read)
I was cooking from scratch and revamping our whole lifestyle using what I learned
And in the final 2 months, we started an amazing 100 sq ft garden in a community plot makes me tired just to write this...

Of course I also unfortunately gained weight as I was not exercising. I am reducing my commitments now to deal with this!


Title: Re: Breastfeeding "cuts cancer risk"
Post by: DeborahA on October 14, 2008, 07:31:03 PM
Kelly, Wow, you are one involved woman, giving so much to your community and family. I hope you have time to put your feet up once in a while and nurture yourself, too.

About Vitamin D . . . I agree that it makes the most sense for us to get our vitamin D through sun exposure. But before foods were supplemented, rickets was widespread in many parts of the U.S.  I would wager that most folks in the U.S. get very little sun exposure these days. Both of my jobs keep me indoors most of the time and many folks are glued to their TV's when they're not in their 'cubes' at work.  I've also heard that above the latitude of L.A., there's not enough sunlight to synthesize enough D several months of the year. Here's a bit of what had to say:

"Exposure to sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin.7,8 Season, latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and suncreens affect UV ray exposure.8 For example, in Boston the average amount of sunlight is insufficient to produce significant vitamin D synthesis in the skin from November through February."