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02nd Jun 2015

Breastfeeding ‘reduces risk of childhood leukemia by up to 19%’

Katie Mythen-Lynch

Babies who are breast fed exclusively for six months may be less likely to develop childhood leukemia.

According to the latest research, breastfeeding could reduce the risk of one of the most common childhood cancers by up to 19 per cent.

Researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel believe babies who are breast-fed have more immune-boosting chemicals, also known as natural killer cells, in their blood.

However experts have said there is no reason for mothers who are unable to or choose not to breastfeed to worry. Childhood leukemia, cancer of the blood and bone marrow, is a relatively rare disease but cure rates have increased from 10 per cent to 90 per cent in the past 30 years.

The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.