Women who have babies may face a greater risk of breast cancer, compared to women who don’t have children. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found the increased risk lasts for decades from the time of the woman’s last child.
“It’s highest 5 years after the child is born and it continues for 24 years and then it starts to fall,” said Dr. David Agus.
Thirty-four years after childbirth, the risk of breast cancer actually goes down 23 percent for women who’ve given birth. Doctors say that’s an important point since most breast cancers happen in women over age 60.
The study also found the increased risk of breast cancer after childbirth was higher for women who were older when they had their first child for women who also had a family history of the disease… and for women who had a higher number of births.
Researchers say breast-feeding did not impact the results either way.
Health experts don’t know why the risk goes up for 24 years after childbirth but they think the estrogen surge during pregnancy may be a factor.