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Diet & Nutrition

Breast cancer risk lowered by exercise

Fifteen minutes of robust exercise every day could reduce the risk of breast cancer by one fifth in post-menopausal women, says study.

Breast Cancer risk for postmenopausal women lowered by vigorous exercise.
Researchers at Oxford University tracked the lifestyles of 125,000 post-menopausal women – around 1000 of whom were diagnosed with cancer during three years of follow up – found that women who did the most physical activity had a decreased chance of getting breast cancer than their sedentary peers.
According to new findings presented today at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference on Monday females who did between 15 minutes and 35 minutes of vigorous daily exercise, like running, were 20 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer compared to those who did not exercise.
The study also found that lean women were 55 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than those with the highest levels of body fat.
However physical activity was seen to lower breast cancer risks regardless of a woman’s weight.
The study's lead author, Professor Tim Key said while exercise has been known to lessen the risks of breast cancer the results regarding size were unexpected.
"We've known for some time that exercise may help to reduce breast cancer risk after the menopause, but what's really interesting about this study is that this does not appear to be solely due to the most active women being slimmer, suggesting that there may be some more direct benefits of exercise for women of all sizes," said Professor Key.
"We don't yet know exactly how physical activity reduces breast cancer risk, beyond helping to maintain a healthy weight, but some small studies suggest that it could be linked to the impact on hormone levels in the body."
This year in Australia it is estimated that 15,270 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer with 1 in 8 women having a lifetime risk of developing the disease.
Because 75 per cent of new cases of breast cancer develop in women over the age of 50 the study is further encouragement for women of all ages to stay fit.
Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer prevention said: "This study confirms that the benefits of staying active go beyond just burning calories, sending a clear message to all women about the importance of being physically active throughout life."
How exercise reduces cancer risks is still not understood but experts suspect it could be related to hormone levels in the body. It has been shown that yoga helps regulate depression in patients during treatment.

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