Breastfeeding in breast cancer survivors: Pattern, behaviour and effect on breast cancer outcome

Hatem A. Azim, Giulia Bellettini, Sarah J. Liptrott, Maria Ersilia Armeni, Veronica Dell'Acqua, Francesca Torti, Brunella Di Nubila, Viviana Galimberti, Fedro Peccatori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known regarding the safety and feasibility of breastfeeding in women with a history of breast cancer. We have performed a survey among breast cancer patients who completed their pregnancy following breast cancer management to examine their lactation behaviours and its effect on breast cancer outcome. Out of 32 women identified, 20 were reachable and accepted to take the questionnaire. Ten women initiated breastfeeding, 4 stopped within one month and 6 had long-term success with a median period of 11 months (7-17 months). The latter were all previously subjected to breast conserving surgery and received qualified lactation counselling at delivery. The main reasons for not initiating breastfeeding were " uncertainty regarding maternal safety" and " a priori unfeasibility" expressed either by the obstetrician or by the oncologist. At a median follow-up of 48 months following delivery, all 20 women were alive with two relapses; one in each group (i.e., lactating and non-lactating). This analysis adds to the limited available evidence on the feasibility and safety of breastfeeding in breast cancer survivors. Proper fertility and survivorship counselling is crucial and requires more attention in breast cancer clinics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-531
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Breast cancer
  • Breastfeeding
  • Counselling
  • Pregnancy
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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