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Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer

There is "convincing" evidence that breastfeeding can reduce a mother's risk of developing breast cancer, but most mothers are not aware of it, according to a survey.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) says 75% of British women do not know breastfeeding their babies could protect them against the disease - and two thirds do not realise a breastfed child is less likely to be overweight.

Men were even less aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, with just 13% knowing it cuts a mother's risk of breast cancer. And only 17% knew of the link between breastfeeding and reducing a child's chances of being overweight.

A study published in January by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) found "convincing" evidence that breastfeeding lowers the risk for both pre and postmenopausal breast cancer. The AICR's expert panel reviewed data from 98 studies to reach their conclusions.

Lucie Galice, general manager of the WCRF, said: "It is clear we have a lot of work to do to raise awareness about the link between breastfeeding and cancer prevention because it is important that when it comes to deciding whether to breastfeed, women are in a position to make an informed choice."

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