by The Welthi Bureau | 27 JULY 2018
Failing to breastfeed is a risk factor for breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, according to Oncology and pathology research at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). Women who give birth over the age of 30 are more susceptible to breast cancer.
Clinical research has proven that the complex components of human milk secretion lowers the risk of breast cancer in women who breastfeed their babies exclusively for a certain period. A common myth that pushes women away from breastfeeding is that they will develop sagging breasts. On the contrary, breastfeeding helps expectant mothers abate the risks of breast, cervical and uterine cancers, the three most commonly diagnosed cancers in Indian women. Breast cancer affects 34 out of 100,000 people while cervical cancer affects 25 out of 100,000 people, according KEMRI.
Five countries - China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Nigeria - account for over 236,000 infant mortalities every year because of inadequate breastfeeding. These countries are estimated to incur an economic cost of $119 billion every year due to mortality and cognitive losses, according to a report by UNICEF and WHO, in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective.
Although the overall Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has declined in Telangana from 39 to 31 deaths among 1,000 live births in the last five years, the major challenge of survival in the first few hours and the first one month of birth persists, and this is where breastfeeding can bring in a miraculous change.
The WHO recommends that for the first six months of life, infants should be exclusively breastfed to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. UNICEF reports that breastfeeding saves the lives of 820,000 children under the age of 5 years, annually, and is associated with a 3- to 4-point increase in IQ. Breastfeeding also protects mothers from post-partum haemorrhage, depression, ovarian and breast cancers, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes.
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