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Breastfeeding Reduces The Risk Of Having Breast Cancer, Study Finds

Breastfeeding Reduces The Risk Of Having Breast Cancer, Study Finds

Science Daily recently published an article during Breast Cancer Awareness Month regarding the association between breastfeeding and a reduced risk of aggressive breast cancer that was sourced by the American Cancer Society. The results indicate that breastfeeding is becoming a scientifically supported way to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Studies have been finding that breastfeeding your child can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 20%. That’s a major breakthrough in cancer prevention!

HRN and what it means

Scientists have found that breastfeeding can specifically reduce the development of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, hormone-receptor-negative or HRN. This form of breast cancer is very likely to be life-threatening and makes up 20% of all breast cancer diagnoses. There are many factors that contribute to the development of HRN including BRACA1 gene mutation, obesity, and multiple early pregnancies, among others. Unfortunately, it is women with these multiple risk factors that are least likely to breastfeed.

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What makes these cancers so dangerous?

HRN breast cancer lacks receptors for estrogen or progesterone, and about 2/3 of those diagnosed also lack receptors for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). When the cancer lacks receptors for all three it is considered a Triple Negative (TN). Both HRN and TN are considered deadly for several reasons. These types of breast cancer are more likely to be diagnosed in their later stages, do not respond to as many treatments, and have fewer treatment options to cure them. Because HRN and TN lack several hormone receptors, medications that target these receptors are not effective.

How can breastfeeding help?

Luckily, there is a safe, accessible, and fairly low-cost way to create long-lasting protection against HRN. In the article published on Science Daily, the American Cancer Society says “This work highlights the need for more public health strategies that directly inform women and girls about the maternal (and fetal) benefits of breastfeeding before and during a woman’s child-bearing years. It’s also important for these women to have the message reinforced by their healthcare professionals.”

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It’s wonderful to discover that such a beautiful mother-child bond can also help keep mommy healthy and possibly save her life. But what is it about breastfeeding that can help save lives? Breastcancer.org cites several ways that breastfeeding can help. Producing milk 24/7 helps to limit the cells’ ability to “misbehave,” fewer menstrual cycles while mommy is breastfeeding causes lower estrogen levels, and mommies who are breastfeeding tend to eat healthier and live healthier as well. However, Breastcancer.org says something very interesting about the length of time needed to lower the risk of cancer: “Breastfeeding can lower breast cancer risk, especially if a woman breastfeeds for longer than 1 year. There is less benefit for women who breastfeed for less than a year, which is more typical for women living in countries such as the United States.”

Pregnant women and younger mothers are very receptive to making healthy choices for themselves and their babies. If women are encouraged to breastfeed, it might lead to better health for both the baby and mommy. If the stigma of breastfeeding in places such as work or school is also removed, it might make breastfeeding more comfortable for new mothers while out in public.

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More research still needs to be conducted, but so far the results have been very encouraging. With such a safe and easy way to reduce the risk of breast cancer, women who are able to breastfeed should try and do so. “All approaches will be necessary in order to protect the most women against the devastation of breast cancer over their lifetimes,” says Farhad Islami, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Interventions, Surveillance and Health Services Research, American Cancer Society.

Featured photo credit: Chris Alban Hansen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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