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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(11):5327-32.

Breastfeeding and its relationship with reduction of breast cancer: a review.

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  • 1Institute of Health Sciences, Centro Universitario do Planalto de Araxa, Araxa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. alinecfb@terra.com.br

Abstract

In this review, we describe the patterns of known immunological components in breast milk and examine the relationship between breastfeeding and reduced risk of breast cancer. The top risk factors for breast cancer are a woman's age and family history, specifically having a first-degree relative with breast cancer. Women that have a history of breastfeeding have been shown to have reduced rates of breast cancer. Although the specific cause has not been elucidated, previous studies have suggested that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer primarily through two mechanisms: the differentiation of breast tissue and reduction in the lifetime number of ovulatory cycles. In this context, one of the primary components of human milk that is postulated to affect cancer risk is alpha-lactalbumin. Tumour cell death can be induced by HAMLET (a human milk complex of alpha-lactalbumin and oleic acid). HAMLET induces apoptosis only in tumour cells, while normal differentiated cells are resistant to its effects. Therefore, HAMLET may provide safe and effective protection against the development of breast cancer. Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their babies because the complex components of human milk secretion make it an ideal food source for babies and clinical evidence has shown that there is a lower risk of breast cancer in women who breastfed their babies.

PMID:
23317179
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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