Medical practitioners say the belief that sucking or fondling a woman’s breasts could prevent lumps is not scientifically proven.
Atara Nketim, a consultant oncologist; Bamidele Iwalokun, a medical researcher and Adaugo Onyedinma, a consultant paediatrician spoke with NAN about the issue on Tuesday, August 7, 2018.
The experts spoke against the backdrop of claims in some quarters that sucking or fondling a woman’s breasts has some health benefits, including prevention of breast cancer and other related diseases.
Gautham Venugopalan, an American researcher, had said a little squeeze might be all it takes “to prevent malignant breast cells triggering cancer”.
Venugopalan had said laboratory experiments showed that applying physical pressure to the cells guided them back to a normal growth pattern.
But Iwalokun, a molecular biologist at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), said there is no scientific back up to the assertion.
Iwalokun said: “There is no research backing to prove that fondling of breasts prevents breasts from growing lumps or developing breast cancer.”
Similarly, Nketim, a consultant oncologist with the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said there was no scientific evidence that sucking, squeezing or fondling breasts could prevent lumps or cancer.
Nketim said husbands might, however, be able to detect if there were lumps in their wives’ breasts at an early stage through fondling of breasts.
“I have seen five patients in my experience where the husbands are actually the ones who discovered lumps in their wives’ breasts and not the wives themselves,” the oncologist said.
“So, it is in this aspect that I will support husbands fondling the breasts to help their wives detect early any lump that can develop.
“But, I do not have any scientific evidence to say that fondling can actually prevent it.”
Onyedinma, a paediatrician, spoke about the importance of breastfeeding to both the woman and her baby.
“There are benefits of breastfeeding, mainly, because of the low levels of the hormone estrogen and higher levels of prolactin and oxytocin present in breastfeeding mothers,” she said.
“Also, exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, promotes weight loss and proper contraction of the womb after delivery.
“It helps with family planning and child spacing and boosts the mother’s emotional health by promoting mother and child bonding.”