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Modifiable Risk Factors and Mortality in Breast Cancer Patients

Posted May 18 2010 7:32am
The more the scientific communities explore the relationships between lifestyle and breast cancer, the more we realize that there are many breast cancer risk factors that we as individuals can control. 

New breast cancer research from Norway explored possible relationships between survival in breast cancer patients and components of their metabolic profile and physical activity.  For this study, information from nearly 1,400 breast cancer patients was collected.  Blood pressure, blood cholesterol, body mass index, and physical activity measures were collected prior to breast cancer diagnosis in these patients as part of a larger population-based study.  Analysis of these possible relationships by the breast cancer researchers showed that
  • Breast cancer patients with a body mass index greater than 30 (obese) were 47% more likely to die from any cause.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly reduced overall mortality by 66% among breast cancer patients diagnosed after 55 years of age.
  • Breast cancer patients with the highest total cholesterol levels were at a 29% increased risk of death compared to patients with the lowest cholesterol levels.
  • High blood pressure was associated with an 41% increased risk in overall mortality.
The results of this study emphasize the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle on overall survival in breast cancer patients.  Aiming for a healthy diet and regular physical activity has been shown to be important for supporting healthy blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and body weight, risk factors this new study shows can impact overall mortality.  When breast cancer specific mortality was examined in this study, similar relationships were observed, though these relationships were not quite as strong.  Nonetheless, these results indicate that breast cancer patients can improve their chances for survival by making healthier lifestyle changes. 

Diet and lifestyle changes can also reduce the risk of ever developing breast cancer.  Read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer to learn more.
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