Breast Cancer Prevention & Exercise

Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Prevention

Author: Erin Radocchia, APRN
Published: October 18, 2013
Since 1985, October has been annually recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time for increased awareness and and education, and a time of empowerment for women from all walks of life to be proactive about their breast health. As we wind down October 2013, the Doctor’s Blog would like to share some information regarding breast cancer prevention and exercise.

While there are many non-modifiable risk factors to developing breast cancer, there are studies to support the role physical activity plays in preventing the occurrence of breast cancer, and its recurrence in patients who have already experienced a breast cancer. 
Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day protects against breast cancer both directly and indirectly, as regular activity helps keep in check the blood levels of hormones that could otherwise stimulate the cancer process. Exercise also helps fight the buildup of excess body fat.  The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that 1 in 5 cases of breast cancer are attributable to carrying excess body fat.

A recent study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention showed a dramatic reduction of 25% of breast cancer incidence in women who spent the equivalent of over 42 MET hours per week exercising.  MET hours of activity are calculated based on the intensity of the exercise, for example walking is the equivalent of 3 MET hours/hour, and running is 8 MET hours/hour.  For women who walked 7 hours per week, there was a reduction of breast cancer incidences of 13%. While that amount of time may seem out of reach for most of us, that shouldn’t stop one from getting active, as a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to higher incidences of breast cancer.  Striving for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days a week – not only prevents breast cancer but is also recommended for heart health, enhances the quality of your sleep, and improves general mood by releasing endorphins.  So get up and get moving!

For More Information:
American Institute for Cancer Research – Reduce Your Risk For Breast Cancer
Erin Radocchia APRN at Family Medicine Associates of Old Saybrook, CTAbout the Author:
Erin Radocchia, APRN, is a welcomed new addition to the staff of Family Medicine Associates. She is Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, graduating from Fairfield University, BSN, Registered Nurse, and MSN.

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