The breast-feeding women are aware of how the breasts feel and they normally notice changes in their bodies. During lactation, it is common to get breast lumps making women to be worried about breast cancer. Is there a Link Between Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer?
It is common to find that women with breast cancer are concerned about the safety of breast-feeding. They also do not know whether the treatment of the cancer will affect the baby.
In this article, we explore whether there is a relationship between breast-feeding and breast cancer.
You can get breast cancer if you are breast-feeding, although it is very rare. There are 3 percent of breast-feeding women in breast cancer cases.
Research by National Cancer Institute suggests that the risk of getting breast cancer is higher in the years after pregnancy and childbirth. The increased risk is a result of changes in hormones during pregnancy.
However, generally, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, particularly in premenopausal women.
The period of pregnancy and breast-feeding will reduce the number of menstrual cycles a woman can have in a lifetime. This will lower the woman’s exposure to hormones that will increase the risk of cancers.
There are factors that make it difficult for lactating women to get a diagnosis of breast cancer, such as:
Breast-feeding can bring symptoms similar to those of breast cancer.
A doctor may not think of testing a woman for cancer if she gets a lump when breastfeeding since there are likely causes.
Breast ultrasounds and mammograms can give a false positive or results that are not conclusive when breast-feeding.
When a woman should see a doctor with a breast lump?
In many cases, the breast lumps in women who are breast-feeding are not cancerous and should not be a cause for worry.
However, you should see your doctor if a breast lump:
Does not go away
Increasebs in size
When pressed does not move within the tissue of the breast
Dimples the skin or to look like an orange peel
Can you breast-feed if you have a breast cancer?
Usually, a doctor will recommend you stop breast-feeding if you have breast cancer. Treatments of breast cancers affect the supply of a woman’s milk and impact the baby negatively.
The doctor will help you to determine the best treatment for you since it can be different from one person to another.
The possible treatments are:
This treatment uses medications that are very strong to destroy the body cancer cells. When undergoing chemotherapy, you need to stop breast-feeding.
It is done to remove the cancerous growth or a lump. In extreme cases, it can involve removal of one breast or both. The magnitude of the surgery will determine whether one can continue to breast-feed.
Radiation. Whether a woman can continue breast-feeding while under radiation depends on a particular type of therapy.
It is rare, to develop breast cancer while breast-feeding. Women should see their doctor when they have worries about their breasts. They should also make sure they have a clinical breast examination.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, discuss your options with the doctor such as whether you should continue to breast-feed or not.