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Breast Cancer Risk Reduced by Exercise

by Breast.com
​A new study has established a link between physical activity and reduced breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women who engage in at least 10 to 19 hours of mild exercise per week.

It doesn’t seem like much of a surprise that researchers have found that exercise can help reduce the risk of women developing breast cancer, but that is exactly what doctors and cancer researchers recently found when they studied the lives of some 3,000 women from Long Island, New York. It already seems that exercise can have a positive impact on nearly every aspect of our lives, especially our health, as dozens of different studies have proven the many beneficial effects of regular exercise. However, breast cancer in women is a huge and growing problem all over the world today and anything that can help women reduce their risk of developing it is very good news.

A new study published in the journal Cancer looked at over 3,000 women between the ages of 20 and 98 in the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, and found that even mild exercise can help reduce the risk of breast cancer for postmenopausal women. The Cancer Study Project is part of a series of government-funded studies conducted to investigate possible environmental contributors to breast cancer in white, upper middle class New York women. The researchers established the link between physical activity and reduced breast cancer risk when they discovered that postmenopausal women who engaged in at least 10 to 19 hours of mild exercise per week during their reproductive years had about a 30 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer in addition to the more predictable effects of keeping their hearts healthy and their bones strong later on in their lives.

The researchers also found that although they did not see any real risk reduction during the time before a woman had her first birth, there was a strong connection seen with postmenopausal women, which is in line with other studies that have shown that postmenopausal women who lose a moderate amount of weight through exercise and a healthier diet can lower their breast cancer risk because losing fat tissue can help reduce the amount of two hormones in women’s bodies that are strongly associated with breast cancer.

The researchers in New York also found that excess weight can also affect the relationship between exercise and breast cancer risk, as gaining excess weight was shown to eliminate some of the risk-reduction benefits of exercise after menopause. Women who gained more than 10 pounds after menopause were found to be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, even if they were physically active. Post-menopausal women who did not exercise at all and gained excess weight had higher risks than the women who worked out regularly. The study also found that obese women who did exercise had nearly the same breast cancer risk as normal-weight women who did not participate in physical activity at all.

The study is especially good news for post-menopausal women, since breast cancer tends to develop in women who are older, more often, and those who are physically active and can maintain their weight, or at least gain only small amounts of weight later in life, will reap truly discernable benefits in terms of breast cancer reduction. The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project hopes that more research will confirm the findings and lead to broader public awareness of the multiple benefits of regular exercise.


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