An Ohio State doctor is calling on colleagues to make sure more patients know about the link between breastfeeding and reduced breast cancer rates. While many women are aware of possible cancer-related benefits of breastfeeding, only 16 percent of respondents to a study by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center &ndash; James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC &ndash; James) reported learning that information from their doctors &mdash; a finding of great concern to the study&rsquo;s principle investigator, Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, MD. &ldquo;We have a duty as a medical community to ensure our patients have reliable knowledge,&rdquo; she says. Read on for more of Dr. Ramaswamy&rsquo;s thoughts on the study&rsquo;s findings and why doctors should seize the opportunity to promote prevention through improved communication with patients. Personal experiences led to professional action &ldquo;One of the striking things I can tell you &mdash; I'm a mother of three kids, two were born here in this country and one in the UK &mdash; no medical provider ever asked me to breastfeed because it reduces the risk of my breast cancer. If you talk to many mothers, the medical community and what's out on the internet will encourage the mothers to breastfeed their infants because it improves infant mortality &mdash; reducing the infections, the overall infant's well-being. No one really talked about, &lsquo;Hey, you're going to have a reduced risk of developing certain diseases.&rsquo; &ldquo;That became an interest to me to say, &lsquo;How knowledgeable are mothers regarding personal benefits from breastfeeding at the time when they make their decision about breastfeeding or not?&rsquo; Data from multiple population studies show that breastfeeding for about six months or so or longer reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.&rdquo; More information could mean fewer deaths for African-American women &ldquo;Unfortunately, African-American women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher chance of dying from breast cancer. One of the reasons that contributes to this higher mortality is that African-American women have a higher chance of getting a more aggressive sub-type of breast cancer called triple negative breast cancer. Breastfeeding, particularly for six months or more, is less prevalent in the African-American community. Multiple studies show breastfeeding actually reduces the risk of developing the more aggressive type &mdash;&nbsp;that is, triple negative breast cancer &mdash;&nbsp;and this is very important information to share with the African-American community.&rdquo; Internet, other media filling gaps in information dissemination &ldquo;Approximately 59 percent of the women who responded to our survey said they were aware that breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, but overall, of the people who were aware, only 16 percent said they received this information from their healthcare providers. The survey asked, &lsquo;Where did you get this information from &mdash; internet or a website, magazines and other things?&rsquo; Most of the others were from those sources.&rdquo; Research benefits could go beyond breastfeeding &ldquo;Why we are interested &mdash; it's not just to understand these mechanisms and then say, &lsquo;Every mother should breastfeed for six months or longer.&rsquo; Obviously, we would like to figure out ways to encourage that as a nation, but I think it's impractical to expect every mother to be able to breastfeed for whatever time because there are so many reasons why a mother may not be able to breastfeed. If somebody could not breastfeed, can we do something preventative? There's more to this than just saying every mother should breastfeed.&rdquo; Success needs support &ldquo;We have to ask, as a community and as a nation, are we giving mothers enough support to be able to take time off work to breastfeed? Initially, for breastfeeding to be successful, you need to be able to initiate on time and be able to breastfeed frequently to be able to sustain that. Is the work place providing support for a young mother with space and time to pump at work to sustain breastfeeding?&rdquo; The goal: decreasing cancer cases by increasing education efforts &ldquo;What is the best way to improve mortality from cancer? Prevention. If the cancer doesn't happen, then you can certainly save more people. It is a no-brainer. Every little thing we can do to prevent cancer would save lives. We're not asking to develop a new, highly expensive intervention. We're trying to improve awareness and education about something as natural as breastfeeding and its impact on cancer prevention.