Women who deliver large babies may twice the risk of developing breast cancer in later life, claim research team from University of Texas. Researchers believe that women with larger babies have augumented levels of certain hormones including oestrogen that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
The researchers studied a group of more than four hundred women, who were tested regularly for up to seventeen years. They found that in total seven and half percent of women were dignosed with breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer for women with larger babies was two and a half times higher, regardless of any other risk factors.
That is equivalent to the amplified risk of a woman’s mother having breast cancer, which is one of the strongest risk aspects. Such women could not amend their pregnancy hormones, but can take steps to increase their general protection against breast cancer. These women could reduce their breast cancer risk by having more than one child, eating a healthy diet, breastfeeding and doing regular exercise.
Typically, women diagnosed with breast cancer did not contract it for more than thirty years after having their baby, but their body may preserve a memory in later life of the high oestrogen level as a result of their large child. Laed author Dr Radek Bukowski, explained women with larger babies had altered levels of three hormones.
They have high levels of oestrogen, low levels of anti-oestrogen and a free insulin-like growth factor that is associated with development of breast cancer. The study was built on accruing evidence for connections between birth weight and breast cancer and could help with early diagnosis of the disease, added Dr Bukowski. The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE.