The risk of acquiring breast cancer generally varies between different individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a lot of factors come into the play.
These factors can be divided into the ones that can be controlled and those that cannot be changed by humans. For example, people cannot do anything about their family history, age, or genetic mutations. On the other hand, they can make efforts to lose weight, stop alcohol consumption, and increase exercise levels.
One of the most common factors believed to decrease the risk of breast cancer in females is childbirth.
However, as per a new research, the theory that childbirth can provide protection against breast cancer has been challenged. The findings of this study suggest that this protection is not something that occurs instantly. Instead, it requires an extremely long time to finally emerge.
Researchers also found that childbirth can only provide protection against breast cancer in women above a certain age group. They also showed that younger women who had recently delivered babies actually suffered from elevated risks.
The Effects of Childbirth
A large-scale analysis investigated 15 different studies carried out around the world. The researchers examined over 800,000 women, specifically focusing on the factors that other studies on the same topic had neglected.
This involved things that could alter the risk of breast cancer, such as breastfeeding and family history of the same disease.
This study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the risk of breast cancer increases in women who gave birth and were of the age of 55 or less.
The risk was found to reach its peak levels in about 5 years after giving birth. At this time, mothers in this age have an 80 percent higher risk of acquiring breast cancer as compared to those who had not given birth.
The authors also noted this risk to be higher in women falling in one of the three categories: those having a family history of breast cancer, those who have a higher number of childbirths, and those with an older age at the time of their first birth.
Breastfeeding did not seem to have any kind of impact.
The most important finding of this study was that the elevation in the risk of breast cancer disappeared 23 years after the childbirth. After 2 or more decades, these women began experiencing protection from this cancer.
According to the researchers, most of the people consider women having children at a decreased risk of acquiring breast cancer as compared to those having no children at all. However, this actually comes from what this cancer looks like for females in 60’s or older ages.
Overall speaking, the scientists found that it may take 20 years or so for females to gain protection from breast cancer after childbirth. Before that, the risk of breast cancer seems to be higher in women who have recently given birth.
However, not all the younger women who had given birth suffer from the same levels of risk. For instance, women who have had their first child after 35 years suffer from a higher risk while those who give birth to children before 25 experience no such risk.
However, the overall chance of acquiring it is still low for any female who has just given birth.