Oxford scientist: More research needed for breast cancer-pregnancy link
Mar 29, 2011
At a symposium in Dunedin, the epidemiologist Dame Valerie Beral of Oxford University told an audience of more than 100 people that more research should be done to search for the mechanisms in which pregnancy and breast-feeding relates to breast cancer, according to the University of Otago News.
Ten percent of women in developed countries have breast cancer by the time they are 80-years-old, said Beral.
However, research has linked breast-feeding and having biological children to decreased levels of breast cancer.
In fact, if all women had about five children, at two years of breast-feeding per child, breast cancer rates would decrease by more than 50 percent.
Beral is not alone in the belief that hormones associated with pregnancy and lactation can protect against breast cancer. Prolactin is one such candidate hormone.
Although it is unlikely that women in developed countries such as the U.S. and European nations will have an average of five biological children, the point is still made that such a scenario would greatly decrease breast cancer.
The average number of children per family in the U.S., according to the 2000 Census, was 1.86.