-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Previous research has found
that breast-feeding and increased childbearing may help reduce a
woman's risk of breast cancer, but a new study suggests that may
not be true for women of Mexican descent.
The four-year study included more than 1,000 Mexican and
Mexican-American breast cancer patients, and concluded that Mexican
women who breast-feed and have more children may be at increased
risk for aggressive breast cancer.
"We found that breast-feeding in women of Mexican descent is associated with triple-negative breast cancer," said study author Maria Elena Martinez, a cancer researcher at the University of California, San Diego. "This was quite surprising. No other study has seen this correlation before. Most studies show health benefits of breast-feeding."
The study only found an association between breast-feeding,
multiple childbirths and breast cancer risk, however. It did not
prove a cause-and-effect link.
Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast
cancer that's difficult to treat.
Specifically, the researchers found that women of Mexican
descent who breast-fed for 12 months or longer had more than twice
the increased risk of triple-negative breast cancer. They were
younger at diagnosis and younger during their first full-term
Patients who had three or more children were also more likely to
have triple-negative breast cancer, according to the study recently
published online in the journal
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
"Our results are both puzzling and disconcerting because we do not want to give the wrong message about breast-feeding," Martinez said in a university news release. "If you treat breast cancer as one disease, breast-feeding is beneficial to both mother and baby. That should not be dismissed."
She said further research is needed.
The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more about
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