The research, conducted at Haifa University, compared children who were breastfed with children who were not, and concluded that the nursing decreased the chances of developing cancer by 60%.
The study also compared children who were exclusively breastfed until the age of at least four months, or in addition to recommended nutritional complementary feeding for at least a year, with children who stopped being breastfed before the age of four months. The chance of getting cancer among those who were exclusively breastfed was 40% lower.
The study was funded by the Israel Cancer Associations. The researchers – Dr. Lital Keinan-Boker, deputy director of the Health Ministry's Center for Disease Control, and Efrat Amitai – interviewed 190 women whose children developed leukemia or lymphoma at the ages of one to 19, as well as 348 mothers of healthy children who were selected from the patients' immediate surroundings.
"We asked the mothers in the study about breastfeeding, nutrition, exposure to pets, exposure to detergents, etc.," said Dr. Keinan-Boker.