Yet another Time magazine blog post claiming that breast feeding could save thousands from breast cancer.
How? Explain it to me, because I am a science idiot so I don’t get it. To the best of my understanding, the production of milk for babies has something to do with estrogen, which has something to do with, or not, in estrogen receptive cancer. Am I totally misunderstanding this?
I see this claim about having kids/breast feeding and the correlation to breast cancer every few months. This one was especially annoying in that it contained this: “What’s important is that it tells us that the cost of not providing support to women to optimally breast-feed their babies is astronomical because of the known health benefits to women. This points out that breast-feeding is not a lifestyle choice; it’s a public health imperative.” (So says Dr. Kathleen Marinelli.)
So I am not doing my part for public health by choosing to ignore my biological imperative (I never wanted kids), and not breast feeding. So my cancer is my fault and I’ve placed undue burden on public health. Yes, I get that she was probably saying those words to make employers understand that leave time (or whatever) needs to be provided for nursing mothers. I have no objection to that. And I probably should not complain, I’m in the minority (again). I’m just so tired of seeing this kind of headline, with an article that contains NO explanation of how breast cancer is linked to breast feeding. (I had to resort to Google, keep reading.)
I was estrogen and progesterone negative, HER2 positive. How does that have to do with not breast feeding? When I Googled “how does breast feeding prevent breast cancer” the first (non-ad-related) article that comes up is Dr. Weil saying “breastfeeding does appear to protect against breast cancer, probably by affecting levels of estrogen in a woman’s body”. My cancer had nothing to do with estrogen. Hell, I’m still on birth control pills!
The paranoid side of me wants to see a conspiracy in this constant stream of encouragement to reproduce and do as nature intended (breed & breast feed). Not everyone wants kids. And it’s not like there is a shortage or something.
Does it bother no one that I would be the reincarnation of Joan Crawford? That I am the definition of an unfit mother? I made a rational, informed, modern choice to not have children, and it was the correct one. And breast cancer is NOT my punishment for this correct choice.
I know, I know. This article was not directed at me personally. But they seem to be so frequent, when I am least expecting them. It is not as if I am seeking them out. I follow/subscribe to blogs about health, and breast cancer specifically. I do this looking for any shred of hope of protecting myself from going through cancer again. And this is what I get for that.
Please. Stop. Blaming. Patients. For. Getting. Breast. Cancer.