Previous research has shown a link between breastfeeding and decreased risk of childhood leukemia, however, a new study reveals that long-term breastfeeding may decrease the risk of leukemia and lymphoma even more than breastfeeding for just a few months.
The study showed that breastfeeding for less than six months was associated with an odds ratio of 2.79 for contracting a lymphoid malignancy compared with children breastfed longer than six months.
Researchers from the UAE University compared 117 children with various forms of lymphoma and leukemia who were treated at the same hospital between 1983 and 1997 to a 117-member control group of healthy children matched by age and sex. All children in the study were Bedouin Arabs.
A report on the researchers’ findings appears in the January 2001 edition of the European Journal of Cancer. The researchers say that with this study and others, the protective effect of longer breastfeeding against childhood leukemia and lymphomas is now more firmly established.