Chapter J1.                Mexican Women 'Maul' BC with Milk
    A 1996 study reported that Mexican women who breastfeed their babies
3-5 years (total for all babies) reduced their BC risk by 67%.  This was
reported by the very well  regarded  American  Journal  of  Epidemiolgy.
(Breast Cancer and Lactation  History  in  Mexican  Women, AJE, Isabelle
Romieu, et al, 1996; 143:543-552)  Those who breastfed 13-24  months had
a 48% reduced risk. These  durations are totals for ALL babies (not each
baby).  If a  woman only had one birth, would she be  denied substantial
BC protection via breastfeeding?  Not according to this study:

  BF (months) during   Per cent reduction
  FIRST live birth     in Breast Cancer risk
                4-12   38%  (95% CI=0.42-0.91)
             over 12   72%  (95% CI=0.17-0.47)

If this was the only study reporting  that  breastfeeding  cut BC risk, 
then it could be slighted.  This Mexican study is  simply  confirmation
of other reports (see breastfeeding in chapter R).

Are Mexican women  smarter  than  'Gringo'  women? -  In  the  area  of
preventing BC, Mexican women have been smarter.  However,  "Because  of
changes in women's lifestyles, lactation is decreasing  in  Mexico, and
young women tend not to  breast-feed  or  to  shorten  the  duration of 
lactation."  In Mexico, poor women  (low  'Socio-Economic  Status') are
more likely to initiate and more likely to do long-term  'nursing' than
affluent women. This is the opposite to the situation in the U.S.; how-
ever, affluent U.S. women average a later age of first birth than  poor

'Short and Sweet' - Can women do everything possible to slash BC  risk?
Some can not.  However, if a woman can  do  the  following two, she has
helped herself 'bigtime':

   1. 'Early' first full-term birth (before  age  24  very good; before
      20 even better); see chapter F1
   2. Breastfeed that 'early' first birth baby a  minimum  of 24 months
      (exclusively breastfeeding for at least 6 months, if possible)

The longer you breastfeed your baby, the stronger 'her'  immune  system
will be.  There is some evidence  that  breastfed  girls  will  have  a 
reduced BC risk themselves (about 26%). Thus, if your long-term breast-
fed baby is a girl, your are  'fighting'  BC  for two.  With a stronger
immune system, your baby is likely to have fewer illnesses and when she
is  ill,  shorter  durations  (on  average).   Breast  milk,  according 
to medical  researchers,  is  by  far  the  best  food  your  baby  can  
receive ('Breast is Best').  If you are a  vegetarian, your breast milk
will  likely  be much 'cleaner' (lower  toxin  levels)  than if you had
been eating red meat (or pork).
"The prolonged low levels of breast fluid estrogens following full-term 
birth and lactation [breastfeeding] may, in part provide a mechanism by
which  parity  [birth]  reduces  breast  cancer  risk."  (International 
Journal of Cancer, Petrakis, et al., 1987;40:587-591)

copyright Brent Rooney ( [email protected] )