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Breast cancer risk highest for women 5 years after childbirth

December 26, 2018 - 3:30 am
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KYW’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It has been common knowledge for decades that having children reduces the risk of breast cancer throughout your life. 

However, there a new study suggests this may not apply to younger women. 

Several studies have indicated that recent childbirth gives a woman a short-term increased risk of breast cancer, which could last for as long as 10 years and may be more pronounced in those who give birth the first time at a later age.  

The latest study looked at more than 890,000 women and found that a woman’s risk of breast cancer was highest about five years after childbirth, and it lasted more than 20 years compared with women who never gave birth. 

It is understood at this point that having a child is recognized as protection against breast cancer risk, but it appears to apply mostly to the peak incidence of breast cancer, which occurs after the age of 60 in most women. 

The protection does not apply to younger women. The studies are ongoing.