Scientists in the USA have recommended women who have survived childhood cancer should breastfeed their babies wherever possible.
The research, carried out by the St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, found that breastfeeding could offset some of the negative effects of the woman's earlier cancer treatment.
Susan Ogg, the scientist leading the research said: 'Alongside advice to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, abstain from smoking, use suitable sun protection, practice safe sex and take part in regular physical activity, women who have survived childhood cancer and are physically able to breastfeed, should be actively encouraged to do so to help protect them against the many lasting effects of cancer treatment.'
The findings revealed an estimated one in every 640 young adults will be a survivor of childhood cancer, and that 80 per cent of children and adolescents treated with modern cancer therapies now survive.
The researchers found that breastfeeding helped improve the mother's health by 'positively influencing bone mineral density, metabolic syndrome risk factors, secondary tumors and cardiovascular disease'.