We've all heard about the benefits of breast milk for babies, but a new study is all about mom. And it might turn out to be the key in battling breast cancer in women under the age of 50. While breast cancer occurs most often in women over the age of 60, it is still a deadly disease at any age. Testing rarely occurs in younger women, so the news that cancer genes can be detected in breast milk could save a young woman's life by detecting breast cancer early.
A study out of Amherst scanned breastfeeding mothers, some of whom had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and found that certain genes that indicate cancer were also present in breast milk. So a screening of breast milk would also let a woman know about the health of her breasts in a non-invasive manner. In fact, the lead researcher of the study says she would like to see all new mothers tested for breast cancer while they're in the hospital recovering from birth. Which makes a lot of sense.
Mammograms can't always catch a tumor in pre-menopausal women, especially breastfeeding women. So this inexpensive, quick, and easy test could catch a deadly cancer early enough to save lives. Seems like a win-win.
I feel like I was giving blood, answering questions, and being poked and prodded enough in the hospital after my babies were born that pumping some colostrum wouldn't be too much effort to make sure I was cancer-free. So the doctor's call to have all women tested feels like money well spent. After all, mommy needs to be healthy to keep that new baby healthy.
I wonder if it works for cows?
Would you want your breast milk tested for cancer?
Image via Save the Ta-Tas