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Study: Exercise Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, November 24, 2008 1:07 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Obesity, Breast Cancer, Healthy Living, Exercise, Estrogen, Women's Health


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto/ Woman w. breast cancer bracelets/ author: JBryson

Lack of exercise may greatly increase the risk of breast cancer, suggests a new study in the December issue of Cancer Causes and Control.

The study by Coyle YM at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center says exercise equivalent to a 30-minute walk five times a week can help prevent breast cancer, slow progression of the disease, enhance recovery and prevent the disease from recurring.

According to researchers, animal studies have found that exercise slows breast tumor growth by promoting changes in cellular reproduction and apoptosis (a form of programmed cell death).

While human studies, limited thus far, suggest exercise produces a reduction in estrogen metabolism changes, in turn lowering the risk of breast epithelial cell proliferation.

Researchers say exercise reduces hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) in breast carcinogenesis by reducing estrogen levels. More research is needed to determine the mechanisms that relate to exercise as a negative modulator of breast cancer risk.

“This is one of the first studies of its kind to show that women who do not have a family history of breast cancer, can reduce their overall risk of developing the disease by exercising,” Dr. Susan K. Boolbol, MD, a breast surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center said.

The National Cancer Institute estimates 184,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2008, of them, 41,000 women will die of the disease.

Participating in regular physical activity is good idea all around – it also lowers levels of estrogen and testosterone, two sex hormones produced in both men and women that have been linked with uterine lining, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Moreover, exercise burns fat which can trap additional estrogen, thus, by decreasing obesity, it lowers the risk of a host of cancers.

Another recently released study found physical activity is good for more than just your waistline. The study found a good night’s sleep can help to reduce a woman’s overall risk of cancer.

More than one-quarter of the U.S. population reports occasionally not getting sufficient amounts of sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia.

A study of 6,000 Maryland woman confirmed earlier studies that found people who do regular physical activity are less likely to develop cancer. #

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