The editorial by Yeager1 in the February 1995 issue of the Archives was incomplete. There was no mention of the lower incidence of cancer reported in association with breast-feeding.
Recent studies show that prolonged lactation can help protect the mother from breast2-6 and ovarian cancers.7,8 Further, prolonged breast-feeding helps to protect children from some childhood cancers, particularly lymphomas.9,10
It is unlikely that this information will increase the number of mothers who can successfully prolong lactation. Accurate and effective counseling by physicians, however, can increase this number.11 As a recent article clearly demonstrates, our training in breast-feeding support and promotion is sadly deficient.12 Should this state of affairs change substantially, it is conceivable that a lowering of cancer incidence would result.