Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Exercise Can Lower Your Risk for Breast Cancer

A recent article in Newsmax Health[1] claims that an hour of exercise daily can lower women’s risk for breast cancer. The study involved over 4 million women who engaged in different levels of activity. The study wanted to determine if there was a relationship between breast cancer risk and physical exercise. The research was headed by the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France. As it turns out, women who were more active successfully reduced their breast cancer risk by approximately 12%. How does that work? The study determined that exercise (regardless of weight or body mass index) helps protect the body against most forms of cancer as well as heart disease. It is believed that even aggressive types of breast cancer can be prevented through physical activity. Time magazine, referencing a study of the same topic at the University of Minnesota St. Paul[2], researched a group of nearly 400 relatively inactive and pre-menopausal women. Split into two different groups, it was found that the group that engaged in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five times a week for four months showed a difference in estrogen metabolism that promotes anti-cancer benefits. It is believed that aerobic exercise has an influence on the way estrogen is broken down, creating a plethora of metabolites beneficial in reducing breast cancer risk. Three major estrogens (E1, E2, and E3) and additional metabolites were studied. The group that exercised not only had better cardiovascular health and body mass index, but also showed a 25% increase in metabolite ratios that have been scientifically linked to lowering the risk of breast cancer.[3]

Exercising for breast health

Exercising isn’t just good for the heart, the joints, and the muscles, but can be extremely beneficial for breast health. If you’re an inactive woman, start exercising slowly. Gradually work up to getting approximately one hour of physical activity or movement on a daily basis. According to the studies, doing so can lower the risk for breast cancer. To date, nearly 40 studies have been conducted on this topic, and while it has been determined that the tumor type will depend on the benefits received, even women who engaged in a minimal activity can reduce their risk or vulnerability for the disease. Women should know that hormone replacement therapies (HRT) can reduce the exercise benefits, and such issues should be discussed with your doctor if you’re taking hormone replacement therapy. In the meantime, the National Cancer Institute[4] encourages women to exercise to not to reduce the risk of breast cancer, but also to:
  • reduce the risk for death caused by heart disease
  • reduce risk of premature death
  • reduce risk of diabetes and high blood pressure
  • maintain healthy body structures including muscles, joints, and bone health
  • control weight
  • promote a sense of mental, physical, and emotional well-being
The benefits of exercise more than outweigh the risks. When it comes to you and breast health, or your overall health and wellness, talk to your doctor about the benefits of exercise and get started on an exercise regimen. Your body will thank you for it.   Until Next Time, Stay Happy & Healthy, ~Dr. Siobhan

How Exercise Can Lower Your Risk for Breast Cancer Read more on: Siobhan France’s Blog

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