Exercise Cuts Risk of Breast Cancer

It doesn’t matter how old a woman is, how much she weighs or where she lives – exercising regularly can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

The more active a woman is, the better her chances are to avoid breast cancer, according to an analysis of multiple studies that involved more than 4 million women worldwide.

Women who exercised vigorously every day for at least an hour had the most benefits. They lowered their risk of breast cancer by 12 percent, a news release states.

“This is a low cost, simple strategy to reduce the risk of a disease that currently has a very high cost, both to health care systems and to patients and their families,” said Professor Mathieu Boniol, research director at the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France. “It is good news both for individuals and for policymakers.”

Boniol and other researchers pored over 37 studies published between 1987 and 2013. The only group of women who did not appear to enjoy a protective effect of exercise was women taking hormone replacement therapy, Boniol said.

Researchers cannot say why exercise helps women avoid breast cancer.

“Physical activity is known to have a protective role in other cancers, as well as in disorders such as cardiovascular disease,” a news release states. “Although the mechanisms for its effect are unclear, the results are largely independent of body mass index, so the effect must be due to more than weight control.”

Researchers also noted that it didn’t matter whether women had exercised at a younger age for them to be able to lower their breast cancer risk through physical activity.

Source: International Prevention Research Institute news release.

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