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Exercising Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

Posted Oct 03 2011 3:27pm




  women exercising

Breast cancer numbers could remarkably decrease by being active

Dr. Alovaro Carrascal, American Cancer Society Senior Vice President of Cancer Control for New York and New Jersey has noted that the American Cancer Society has anticipated 288,000 American women will have received a diagnosis of breast cancer and the disease will take the lives of 39,520 women for 2011.

Dr. Carrascal remarks the broad range studies have shown a link between exercise and breast cancer with several of those studies demonstrating that active women have a lower risk than non-active women.

Studies have received funding by the American Cancer Society to examine the impact of exercise and risk for cancer. Around fifty studies have demonstrated that the risk for developing breast cancer was 20% less among active women in comparison to non-active women.

Those studies had also discovered that exercise had lowered breast cancer risk of women both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal. However, the decreased risk was a little more for those women who had gone through menopause.

Further Dr. Carrascal states that even very young women do receive benefits from exercise. High levels of vigorous to moderate activity during adolescence have demonstrated to reduce breast cancer risk remarkably later on in life. Moderate exercise includes things such as walking, biking, household chores and even gardening. Vigorous exercise means those activities which increase heart rate, rate of breathing and sweating. All women should have a combination of both exercise types for the reduction of breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society offers the following advice for everyone to have exercise for a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes at the rate of five times a week.

It still has not yet been established why exercise reduces the risk for breast cancer.  Dr. Carrascal believes it could be due the fact physical activity stops tumor development by decreasing insulin and hormone levels and improving immune response.

Exercise also decreases weight gain and obesity both of which that increase the risk of developing most types of cancer.

Fourteen percent of cancer deaths in men and twenty percent in women could have been due to obesity according to the National Cancer Institute. Risk for breast cancer especially increases among those who have gain weight after reaching adulthood.  Among those gaining twenty pounds or more after the age of 18 have a 40% greater risk for developing breast cancer in comparison to not gaining the weight. Dr. Carrascal further notes those gaining 70 pounds or more after the age of 18 have double the risk for the development of breast cancer. This is particularly dangerous for post-menopausal women who already have a higher risk of breast cancer.

According to Dr. Carrascal there is no such thing as too late to decrease your breast cancer risk. Your risk will go down when you lose weight and anytime weight is lost you gain all across the board. Even those women who are at a healthy weight and had breast cancer can still reap the rewards.

There have been some studies that demonstrated women that exercise three to five a week after breast cancer diagnosis especially those with hormone-receptive tumors have improved survival rates in comparison to less active women noted by the American Cancer Society and further noting that it is still too early to have a final conclusion in regards to physical activity and breast cancer survival.

In closing Dr. Carrascal notes genetic mutations can also cause breast cancer, family history and other non-lifestyle associated factors. He recommends all women do a regular self-breast examination and when over forty to have regular mammograms. Those women with risk factors such as family history, obesity may need to have mammograms at an earlier age. Dr. Carrascal notes that breast cancer is a very treatable condition when it has been detected early.

In August Macmillan Cancer Support had released a report which noted around 1.6 million cancer survivors could be at risk for serious ill health and even in some cases a recurrence of cancer due to an inactive lifestyle.

More than sixty studies published in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia have shown that women who are physically active have less risk for the development of breast cancer in comparison to non-active women.

A list of general physical activities can be seen online at CDC Physical Activities.

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