Breastfeeding and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer

Jordan, Susan J., Siskind, Victor, Green, Adèle C., Whiteman, David C. and Webb, Penelope M. (2010) Breastfeeding and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Cancer Causes and Control, 21 1: 109-116. doi:10.1007/s10552-009-9440-x

Author Jordan, Susan J.
Siskind, Victor
Green, Adèle C.
Whiteman, David C.
Webb, Penelope M.
Title Breastfeeding and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer
Journal name Cancer Causes and Control   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0957-5243
Publication date 2010-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10552-009-9440-x
Volume 21
Issue 1
Start page 109
End page 116
Total pages 8
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Several studies have found inverse associations between breastfeeding and ovarian cancer occurrence but there are inconsistencies. The relationship with breastfeeding duration is unclear, and it is uncertain whether the association varies according to histological subtype of ovarian cancer. We sought to clarify these issues.


Parous women who participated in an Australia-wide population-based case–control study of epithelial ovarian cancer between 2001 and 2005 (1,092 cases and 1,288 controls) completed a reproductive/lifestyle questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals to investigate relations between breastfeeding and ovarian cancer.

We found a strong inverse association between total duration of breastfeeding (all episodes combined) and ovarian cancer occurrence (OR = 0.986, 95% CI 0.978–0.994 per month of breastfeeding) that appeared to be independent of parity. However, individual episodes of lactation beyond 12 months conferred no appreciable additional benefit. The relation with breastfeeding appeared to vary by histological subtype such that we saw no association between duration of breastfeeding and borderline serous cancers or mucinous cancers, but inverse associations for the other subtypes, although these were not always statistically significant.

A long total duration of breastfeeding appears to be associated with a substantial reduction in the overall risk of ovarian cancer, independent of the decrease in risk due to childbirth, but this may vary according to histological subtype.  © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Keyword Ovarian cancer
Risk factors
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 25 September 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 32 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 40 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 31 Jan 2010, 00:05:16 EST