Breastfeeding may lower risk of ovarian cancer in women with BRCA mutations
Full article: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0090-8258(20)33947-0
Data from a large-scale study suggests that breastfeeding may protect against ovarian cancer in women with inherited mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2. (1/28/21)
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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding newborns for about 6 months and continuing to breastfeed while introducing other foods until the baby is at least 12 months old. These guidelines were developed for women of average risk and not specifically for women with BRCA mutations.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) creates risk management guidelines for women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer.
Guidelines for oophorectomy in high-risk women
The NCCN recommends risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy for women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations:
- For women with BRCA1 mutations, the surgery is recommended between ages 35 and 40 and upon completion of childbearing.
- For women with BRCA2 mutations, delaying risk-reducing removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes until ages 40 to 45 is considered “reasonable."
The NCCN suggests that women with a mutation in an MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, EPCAM (Lynch syndrome), BRIP1, RAD51C or RAD51D gene consider undergoing risk-reducing oophorectomy between the ages of 45 and 50. The NCCN states that not enough evidence exists to recommend risk-reducing oophorectomy for all women with an ATM, PALB2 or PMS2 mutation. Experts recommend managing ovarian cancer risk based on family history in women with these mutations.
- Women should discuss the benefits and risks of surgery with their doctors.
Questions To Ask Your Health Care Provider
- My family has a history of ovarian and breast cancers. Should I consider genetic testing for an inherited mutation?
- I have an inherited BRCA mutation. What are my options for managing my cancer risk?
- I have a BRCA mutation and I’m considering surgery. What is the best timing?
- I have a BRCA mutation and would like to have children. What issues should I consider in my family planning?
- I have a BRCA mutation and I am pregnant. How and when should I be screened for breast cancer?
- I have a BRCA mutation and I am nursing. How should I be screened for breast cancer?
- Should I consider oral contraceptives? If so, for how long?
FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.