According to Breastcancer.org, “About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.”
Let’s look at recent research
In the Recent Results in Cancer Research book series (volume 186), researchers review 73 studies worldwide regarding the connection of physical activity and breast cancer prevention. The review states:
“Across these studies there was a 25% average risk reduction amongst physically active women as compared to the least active women. The associations were strongest for recreational activity, for activity sustained over the lifetime or done after menopause, and for activity that is of moderate to vigorous intensity and performed regularly. There is also some evidence for a stronger effect of physical activity amongst postmenopausal women, women who are normal weight, have no family history of breast cancer, and are parous.”
In summary, it is likely that exercise is linked to decreased risk of breast cancer through several biological connections.
A study published in 2010 introduced postmenopausal women to a year-long routine of aerobic exercise with the objective of measuring the circulation of “estradiol, estrone, sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG), androstenedione and testosterone levels, which may be involved in the association between physical activity and breast cancer risk.” The results support a positive correlation of regular, high intensity aerobic exercise and reduced breast cancer risk in “previously sedentary, mostly overweight, postmenopausal women.”
So what about premenopausal women?
In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 86, Issue 18, 21 September 1994, Pages 1403–1408, researchers sought to determine the Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer in Young Women as impacted by physical exercise. The study compared a group of over 500 women who were newly diagnosed with in situ or invasive breast cancer to a control group of women who were diagnosed breast cancer free. In conclusion, researchers wrote, “protective effect of exercise on breast cancer risk in the women whom we studied suggests that physical activity offers one modifiable lifestyle characteristic that may substantially reduce a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer.” The results positively support the impact of physical exercise on breast cancer risk and prevention.
After years of research, providers and researchers highly recommend physical exercise as an addition to a preventive lifestyle against breast cancer. Though new research continues to reveal more data in the arena of breast cancer, exercise benefits are essentially conclusive.
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey