Breast Feeding and Breast Cancer

Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer

What is Breastfeeding?

It is a process in which the milk produced by the mother is delivered to the infants. It is necessary for the healthy growth and development of the newly born.

Breast milk is produced by the mammary glands of women’s breasts followed by childbirth. Milk is produced as a consequence of physiological and hormonal changes in the woman’s body during pregnancy.

A Biological Understanding of Breastfeeding:

Breast milk is produced by the mammary glands of a woman’s breast after childbirth. The hormones play an important role in the production and delivery of breast milk to the infant. The set of hormones includes prolactin, progesterone, estrogen, and oxytocin. Colostrum is the first breast milk that is of high nutritional value as it provides a coating over the baby’s digestive system and protects it from acquiring infections. It helps in the development of a premature baby.

Importance of breastfeeding

• Development of the brain

• Provides nutrition to the baby by supplying antibodies and nutrients

• Strengthens the bond between the mother and baby through emotional bonding

• Mother’s chances of acquiring diseases like breast cancer and diabetes are reduced

• It has environmental and economic benefits as there is no production, packaging, and transport

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that can start from either or both breasts. It can be fatal, if not detected and diagnosed at early stages. Statistics show that there were 2.3 million cases and 685,000 recorded deaths globally in 2020.

Early detection and diagnosis

Breast cancer may not show symptoms at the early stages. However, lumps are developed at the site of the growth of cancer. There exist types of breast cancer that can be identified by performing a biopsy on the patient. Imaging tests can be used to determine the extent of the cancer. Hence creating awareness for regular screening tests must be promoted. Methods of screening include mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRIs.

How to create awareness?

• Living survivors can be of great help to reach out to women.

• Campaigns can be organized in rural areas to spread awareness about breast cancer among rural men and women.

• Fundraising activities must be promoted so that organizations are capable of funding the


• Men are also advised to be aware of breast cancer as a significant sector of Indian women are taken care of by men.


Technology and healthcare industries have come up with effective techniques to treat breast cancer. Some of the methods are;

• Surgical

• Radiation therapy

• Chemotherapy

• Immunotherapy

• Targeted drug therapy

• Hormonal therapy


Active research programs are being encouraged in the field of diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. This can lead to the invention of more effective and non-invasive treatment technology for cancer. Regular screening is necessary for early detection followed by treatment of the cancer in women.

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