Weird Medicine

Getting Pregnant May Help Women Avoid Breast Cancer, Study Says

A new study found a link between pregnancy and breast cancer. Researchers said giving birth at the age of 25 or younger may reduce the risk of having the potentially deadly disease by more than 30 percent. 

Breast cells appeared more active after pregnancy. Researchers said that after giving birth, the cells could block a potent cancer gene called cMYC and place it “where it cannot cause harm.” 

“The event of pregnancy itself changes how regions of DNA are open or closed. Think of a yo-yo,” Camila dos Santos, an assistant professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), said in a statement

“When you release a yo-yo, you have a string, which represents that part of the DNA became open. And because it's open, now transcription factors can bind and either turn on or off genes. If you pull your yo-yo back, everything gets inside the yo-yo. That's what we call closed chromatin, so transcription factors cannot bind there,” she added. 

Another benefit of pregnancy is that it allows the body to put breast cells into a state of "pre-senescence," a moment in the cell's life cycle between dying, living and potential cancer. Senescent cells "are in the gray zone," where they are not growing or dying, dos Santos explained. 

It is important to know that the findings came from the analysis of the benefits of pregnancy in mice. But researchers hope the findings would guide the development of new breast cancer treatments and better ways to identify women’s risk before a tumor appears.

Pregnancy basically helps inhibit cells from interacting with a cancer-promoting gene.

“You have cancer genes being shut down at the same time that genes leading this cell to a kind of a precipice, like they're going to jump out and die, get turned on,” dos Santos said. “We believe these signals are the key players for why these cells do not turn into cancer.”

The researchers will continue the study and focus on human breast tissue organoids to see if they would act like those in mice and prevent breast cancer. It will also involve transplanting cells altered by pregnancy into mice to see if those who have never been pregnant may enjoy the same anti-cancer benefit. 

pregnant Pregnancy is among the most sensitive stages of life among women and the scientific community continues to find health conditions and factors that may put both the mother and baby at risk. Pixabay

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