Exercise not only boosts energy, protects heart and bones, it may also reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. According to a new study published in CANCER, moderate physical activity may lower breast cancer risk before or after menopausal years. Women could reduce the risk of breast cancer by staying active and maintaining healthy weight.
Lauren McCullough and her team studied the relationship between physical activities and the risk of developing breast cancer. 1504 breast cancer patients and 1555 women without breast cancer were enrolled in the study. They were between ages 20 to 98 who also participated in the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project. The majority of the participants were white.
The study found that women who exercised during reproductive and postmenopausal years had a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. Women who exercised for 10 to 19 hours per week during those periods were 30% less likely to develop breast cancer. In addition, researchers discovered that all levels of exercise were beneficial. Women who exercised less frequently also appeared to have a decreased breast cancer risk.
In contrast, weight gain increased the risk of breast cancer. Researchers found that weight gain would significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer - women who gained six or more pounds were 28% more likely to develop breast cancer. Excess body fat is linked to higher level of estrogen, which is a growth factor for tumor. If a woman stayed active but gained significant weight, breast cancer risk would increase - suggesting weight gain could potentially eliminate the risk-reduction benefit of exercise on breast cancer. Therefore, it is crucial to not only stay active, but also maintain the healthy weight.