Can Walking Lower The Risk of Breast Cancer?

Prostate Cancer Research Institute Annual Conference
November 25, 2013
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November 26, 2013

Can Walking Lower The Risk of Breast Cancer?

The journal, Cancer Epidemiology, recently published a lengthy study on how walking is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The women studied were only using walking as their regular form of exercise during any leisure time. This adds to the ever growing pile of evidence linking women who exercise regularly, to having less chance of getting breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society’s analysis of more than a staggering, seventy thousand post-menopausal women, also showed that the reduction in breast cancer was regardless of the womens’ weight. Whether they gained weight during the study, were obese or just a little overweight.

The link to cancer risks being lessened for those who walked regularly, was also independent of women who had used hormone therapy as a treatment for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Exercise was also linked to having a lesser risk for both estrogen negative, and positive, receptor cancers.

Almost fifty percent of the participants in the study confirmed that the only exercise they did recreationally was walking. Those who did seven hours or more each week had an additional fourteen percent less chance of breast cancer; as opposed to their fellow counterparts who were walking three hours or less each week.

On average women were covering three miles an hour, which is a moderate pace. The study also showed that participants who were dong even more vigorous exercise, in addition to their walking, were twenty five percent less likely to get breast cancer than the less active women.

A senior epidemiologist, Dr Patel said “Our findings are particularly relevant, as people struggle with conflicting information about how much activity they need to stay healthy. Without any other recreational physical activities, walking on average of at least 1 hour per day was associated with a modestly lower risk of breast cancer. More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more.”

While there is certainly a great deal of evidence linking exercise to lowering one’s chances of getting breast cancer, there is still very little known about why walking and exercise does this. One theory is that walking helps to normalize hormones such as insulin and estrogen, both of which are known to accelerate cancer growth.

These types of studies are regularly released and quite often we hear information which contradicts previous studies. One thing that always seems consistent however, is that healthy eating and regular exercise is simply the best ways to prevent most diseases.


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