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HHS HealthBeat (February 21, 2011)

Breastfeeding and cancer survivors

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Researchers say breastfeeding could have especial value for moms who had cancer when they were children.

Dr. James Klosky of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee:

``It appears that breastfeeding may be particularly beneficial to mothers who have survived childhood cancer, as it offers protection to many of the systems most vulnerable to childhood cancer therapies.’’ (9 seconds)

He says the conditions include low bone mineral density, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He also says survivors have increased risks of second cancers, but breastfeeding can decrease the risk of cancers of the breast, uterus and ovaries.

The study in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship was supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 7, 2011