Transformation and maturation of breast tissue has been a signal part of mammalian evolution.
Histological maturity of the breast occurs with lactation. Formula feeding and shorter durations of breastfeeding have been associated with a poorer prognosis and a higher death rate from breast cancer.
The maturation of progenitor cells in the breast requires preferably at least 6 months of lactation for their optimal development with a clear improvement shown in cancer statistics.
Normal maturation of these cells appears to be associated with a lower risk of developing aggressive hormone receptor negative types of breast cancer, and more commonly luminal A tumours responding well to hormone therapy.
A 30% decrease in risk of breast cancer recurrence with breastfeeding more than 6 months and a 28% death rate reduction has been reported.
Reset of cellular morphology with lactation and weaning sometime after 6 months
The Lancet 2002;360 (9328), 187-195 Formula feeding and breast cancer.