Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Breast Cancer Risk In Women May Increase After Childbirth

Breast Cancer Risk In Women May Increase After Childbirth

Breast cancer survivors may be more likely to experience anxiety, depression, sleep troubles and other mental health issues than women who have not been diagnosed with the disease, a research review suggests.

"We found that it can take more than 20 years for childbirth to become protective for breast cancer, and that before that, breast cancer risk was higher in women who had recently had a child", Hazel Nichols of the University of North Carolina, one of the study's authors, commented.

Globally, breast cancer causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women, according to the World Health Organization.

"If you look cumulatively, it decreases the risk because breast cancer is relatively rare in young women", Agus said.

The findings are especially pertinent in India, where "breast cancer ... is different from that in the West". It was notable in that, while previous studies have suggested an increased risk in breast cancer in younger women after childbirth, they've not taken into consideration other factors that might impact risk, such as breastfeeding or family history of breast cancer, researchers said.

"I want them [patients] to talk to their doctor and say, listen, I had my last child at an older age so maybe I should be screened earlier because my risk is going to be highest five years out from that point".

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Routine screening still isn't recommended for women between the ages of 40 and 49 with what experts call a normal risk of breast cancer, while health professionals say normal-risk women aged 50 to 74 should have a mammogram every two to three years.

"This certainly should not be used to make any decisions about childbirth or timing of childbirth because that's an intensely personal decision that is made by everybody at their own time, and breast cancer risk shouldn't ever be something that fits into that", Callahan said.

Dr. Korenstein says that, compared with other worldwide guidelines, the task force's guideline "is alone among similar guidelines in noting in the main recommendation for all age groups that 'the decision to undergo screening is conditional on the relative value that a woman places on possible benefits and harms.' This overt across-the-board acknowledgement of the primacy of the patient world view encourages Canadian physicians to prioritize patient-centred care and value". "These are very small differences in the absolute measure, but they're still important because they are in the opposite direction of what we know about these risk factors in older women".

"So most breast cancer happens 30-plus years out".

The real value of the study is in helping develop better breast cancer risk-prediction models to help decision making about screening.

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