Delivering a larger than average infant will not be that pleasant in the first place. But in addition, new research found that giving birth to a high-weight baby more than doubles a woman’s breast cancer risk.
For the first time, researchers have discovered that birth weight is an independent risk factor linked to breast cancer. The alarming relationship may be the result of a hormonal environment during pregnancy that favors future breast cancer development and progression.
“We found that women delivering large babies — those in the top quintile of this study, which included babies whose weight was 8.25 or more pounds — have increased levels of hormones that create a ‘pro-carcinogenic environment.’ This means that they have high levels of estrogen, low levels of anti-estrogen and the presence of free insulin-like growth factors associated with breast cancer development and progression,” said lead author Dr. Radek Bukowski, professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
Unfortunately women can’t alter their pregnancy hormones, but more insight in the relationship between large infants’ birth weight and breast cancer could improve prediction of future breast cancer.
Source: Science Daily
Photo via Green Kids
Radek Bukowski, Rowan T. Chlebowski, Inger Thune, Anne-Sofie Furberg, Gary D. V. Hankins, Fergal D. Malone, & Mary E. D’Alton (2012). Birth Weight, Breast Cancer and the Potential Mediating Hormonal Environment. PLoS One DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.10.240