Delivering a baby increases – then lowers – risk of breast cancer: study

Having a baby temporarily increases the risk of breast cancer by about 80 percent compared to the risk in women who have never given birth, researchers behind a new study have concluded.

But the 80 percent-higher breast cancer risk is not as scary as it first sounds because “fortunately, breast cancer is uncommon in young women,” chief author Dr. Hazel Nichols told Reuters Health in a telephone interview.

Nichols and colleagues found that the breast cancer risk peaks 4.6 years after a woman’s most recent birth but then begins to fall. After another 19 years, the risk returns to the same level as a woman who has never given birth. And from there, it continues to drop.

By 34.5 years after birth of the youngest child, the breast cancer risk is 23 percent lower than the risk in women who had never been pregnant.

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