Doctors fail to inform new moms that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer, a new study reveals.
Researchers from Ohio State University recruited over 700 woman ages 18 to 53 who had given birth at least once. Although more than half of participants knew the breast cancer risk reduction associated with breastfeeding, only 16 percent reported having received this information from healthcare providers.
Women who were not aware of this risk said that if they had known it would have influenced their decision to breastfeed. And woman with this knowledge breast fed longer than women who did not, with 76.4 percent of white woman breastfeeding their child for more than six months compared to 63.2 percent of black women.
Between 1999 and 2013, black women had lower rates of developing breast cancer compared to white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now the risk of getting breast cancer is about the same for women of both races, though death rates are 40 percent higher among black women.
Black women are more likely to get triple-negative breast cancer, a type of breast cancer that is aggressive and comes back after treatment. Scientists are conducting research to find out exactly why some women are more susceptible to this kind of cancer and ways to treat it.
Study authors say breastfeeding practices could be influenced if women are educated about the association between breastfeeding and breast cancer risk reduction.
The study shows the need for doctors to have improved counseling for mothers, study authors add.