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10TV: Is there a link between babies and breast cancer?

A recent study from the University of North Carolina noted that women who have given birth could be at a higher risk for breast cancer, compared to women who have not given birth. It said the risk is highest five years post-partum, but that after two decades, the risk actually drops. 34 years postpartum, their breast cancer risk drops by 23 percent.

10TV medical reporter Tracy Townsend recently visited with Natalie Jones, MD, director of the breast health program at OhioHealth. Dr. Jones said this study should not scare women off from having babies. She says since the risk is small, this study can be misleading.

“I don’t think we should change anything based on this study,” says Dr. Jones. “I still encourage women to have kids and to continue to breast feed, because in the end, I think those are both still protective. They do not in the long term increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Early detection is beneficial in treating breast cancer. OhioHealth recommends women follow the current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines below:

  • Screening mammogram beginning at age 40
  • An annual clinical breast exam by a doctor
  • Monthly breast self-exams
  • Specific mammogram screening guidelines can be discussed with your OhioHealth physician

To learn more about this study and hear from Dr. Jones, you can watch the 10TV video above.

Never had a mammogram and are nervous about going in for your first screening? Click here for a video with Dr. Jones on what to expect and why it’s so important.

Need to schedule a mammogram?  Click here to find a location near you.  You can schedule by phone, online or through the OhioHealth app.