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Strenuous exercise lowers lifetime breast cancer risk E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

A new study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported that women who exercised more than 6 hours of strenuous recreational exercise each week had a 23 percent reduced risk of developing invasive breast cancer compared to women who never exercised.The reduction in risk was seen women who exercised early in life, after menopause, or in the recent past.

While women with a family history of breast cancer didn't have a reduced risk with exercise, all of the other women did, regardless of how old they were when they started exercising,

The study team interviewed 7,630 women who were free of breast cancer, 1,689 with very early-stage or in situ disease, and 6,391 with invasive breast cancer. All of the women ranged in age from 20 to 69.

A larger study, published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, found that among 16,000 women in all stages of life, those who engaged in vigorous physical activity most days of the week significantly lowered their risk of invasive breast cancer. ike the other study the results applied only to women without a family history of the disease.

The Relationship of Diet, Exercise and Cancer Risk

Numerous other studies have inventoried the breast health benefits of exercise, both in terms of prevention and survival.

It is also widely known that regular workouts help women maintain a healthy weight -- a key factor in fighting breast cancer.

More and more information is also showing a direct relationship between certain nutrients and their ability to reduce cancewr risk. For example, increasing fiber (e.g., beans, raspberries, pears and artichokes) could reduce breast cancer risk. Other foods rich in anti-cancer compounds include pples, broccoli, cranberries, pineapple, cauliflower, garlic, cabbage, atomatoes and brussels sprouts.

Conversely, consumption of alcohol, foods high in saturated fats and sugars can increase breast cancer risk.

SOURCE: Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, February 2007
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