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Cancer

Breast Cancer and Breast Feeding

04/28/2009

Question:

I have a question with regards to the spread of cancer from a breast-feeding woman with cancer to her baby. If a woman has breast cancer and she breast-feeds her child, will the child get cancer from her? If not, why?

Answer:

There is no risk to a breast-fed baby. Cells cannot be transmitted because they are foreign cells from another person. The baby's immune system would destroy the cells. Also, cells that go into the stomach cannot survive.

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Response by:

Case Western Reserve University Paula Silverman, MD
Associate Professor
Medical Director, Breast Cancer Program
Division of Hematology/Oncology
Seidman Cancer Center
University Hospitals
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University
Paula  Silverman, MD