Lactation and risk of breast cancer in a cohort of us women

Stephanie J. London, Graham A. Colditz, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett, Bernard A. Rosner, Karen Corsano, Frank E. Speizer

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The relation between lactation and risk of breast cancer was examined in a cohort of 89,413 parous female US registered nurses aged 30-55 years and free from cancer in 1976 who provided information on total duration of lactation in 1986. Between 1976 and 1986, 1,262 cases of breast cancer occurred during 785,958 person-years of follow-up. There was no independent association between lactation and the risk of breast cancer. After adjustment for age and parity, compared with women who had never lactated, the relative risks (and 95% confidence intervals (Cl)) were 0.95 (95% Cl 0.84-1.08) for women with <7 months of lactation, 0.87 (95% Cl 0.71-1.08) for 7-11 months, 0.94 (95% Cl 0.77-1.14) for 12-23 months, and 0.98 (95% Cl 0.76-1.28) for >24 months (test for trend: z = -0.80, p = 0.42). The association did not differ by age or menopausal status. These results do not confirm reports that relatively short durations of lactation reduce the risk of breast cancer among younger women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1990


  • Breast feeding
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Lactation
  • Risk


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