Ask the Expert: Facts About Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer

This educational post is sponsored by Ochsner Hancock.  Gulf Coast Moms Blog is thankful to have wonderful healthcare providers on the Gulf Coast to help our families live healthy lives.

Ask the Expert: breastfeeding and breast cancer A Personal Decision

The decision to breastfeed is very personal and depends on the mother’s unique situation. If breastfeeding is an option for you, you may want to consider it. Besides possibly lowering your risk for breast cancer, breastfeeding gives your child antibodies through the breast milk that can protect him/her from bacterial and viral infections. Still, these are highly individual decisions affected by many factors.

1 in 8

One in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. And many women find that while they’re breastfeeding or pumping, they’re more aware than ever of their breast health.  

Facts from the Expert

Gulf Coast Moms Blog met with a local expert to discuss the facts surrounding breastfeeding and lowering the risk for breast cancer.  Dr. Lesley Meng from Ochsner (yep, that Ochsner) Medical Center in Bay St. Louis is an oncologist, hematologist and, most importantly, a mother to two very active boys. She’s passionate to bring awareness to women’s heath issues to our Gulf Coast community.
The information available is nothing new.  Breastfeeding appears to lower breast cancer risk. This risk reduction was seen in both younger women and in women who had their first child later in life. Breastfeeding lowered the risk of both hormone-receptor-positive and hormone-receptor-negative breast cancers. Other studies have shown that breastfeeding is also associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

So how can breastfeeding reduce the risk of breast cancer and what warning signs do mothers need to watch for?

Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms:

  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
  • Breast or nipple pain.
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin.
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Seeing a doctor for an evaluation will help determine whether something you notice is cause for concern.  
Dr. Meng practices at Ochsner Hancock.  To schedule an appointment, call 228-220-5200.
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Christy is Co-Founder and Owner of Gulf Coast Moms Blog. She was born in Costa Rica and moved to the United States when she was 6 years old. She vividly remembers flying into New Orleans and knew, in the moments to come, her life would change forever. She grew up in Moss Point and moved to Hattiesburg to attend college at Southern Miss, where she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She met her love, Matthew, and they have enjoyed married life for 13 years. They live in Long Beach with their precious children, John Salem and Ann-Michael. Prior to co-founding Gulf Coast Moms Blog, she had a successful 10+ year career in higher education administration, where she developed and spear-headed campus-wide student initiatives and events. Christy is now spending her days as a stay-at-home mom and serves her community through several non-profit organizations. She enjoys making Costa Rican tamales, a fresh margarita from El Aguila, annual sister spa day, collecting random owl things (Hootie Hoo to my Chi Omega sisters), words of wisdom from Irish priests and pool days. She is passionate about connecting women and creating a supportive, nurturing community to empower moms.