HEALTH WATCH: Very few health care providers tell women about breastfeeding benefit for them

Health experts say women may be missing out on a significant health benefit to themselves from breastfeeding.

A study at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center found nearly 60 percent of moms surveyed had heard of the link between breastfeeding and cancer risk reduction. Unfortunately only 16 percent of those women got that information from a healthcare provider.

“It’s been known for a long long time that breastfeeding is a benefit to baby and mother as far as reduction of childhood cancers for the baby, as well as ovarian and breast cancer risk reduction for the mother,” said Lynn Cleveland, a lactation consultant at Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center in Lagrange.

Dr. Bhuvana Ramaswamy led the study at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer hospital and Solove Research Institute.

“Are we making sure that our patients, our mothers when they come to you as patients, are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding to them before they make their decisions?”

Research shows African American women are less likely to breastfeed but are much more likely to carry a gene mutation predisposing them to triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive and deadly form of the disease.

Experts say information about the cancer reduction risk from breastfeeding should be shared by health care professionals with women from pregnancy through labor and delivery.

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