Your Baby’s Birthweight May Impact Risk of Breast Cancer
July 19, 2012
by Katie Murray
After carefully counting ten small fingers and toes, and nervously watching a doctor place a stethoscope to their tiny baby’s chest, new parents commonly await the first details about their new baby: length and weight. While previously this bit of information might have indicated a healthy, strong newborn, a new study indicates this information might be the answer to another question, will I have breast cancer?
Data from two studies published this week in the journal PLoS One suggest that women who give birth to babies weighting over 8.25 lbs have a two-and-a-half times greater risk of developing breast cancer than women birthing smaller children, reports CNN.
According to doctors behind one of the studies, results are independent of family medical history, diet, age and other risk factors. The study’s findings suggest that a certain type of hormone profile developed during pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
While pregnant with a heavier baby, the ratio between estrogen and anti-estrogen hormones in a woman’s body shifts exponentially. Since more estrogen is associated with a high breast cancer risk, and larger babies cause the production of more hormones, the facts are consistent with the results of the study.
However, doctors are stressing that the results are preliminary and women should not worry. They also reiterated that diet and exercise can severely decrease a woman’s chance of developing several types of cancer, and should be treated as necessary preventative strategies.
How much did your child weigh at birth? Do these new findings make you uneasy?