According to researchers from the Alberta Cancer Board in Canada women who have remained active throughout their lives may have a lower breast cancer risk than their habitually sedentary counterparts.
The investigators found that postmenopausal women who reported the highest levels of activity were 30% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women with the lowest activity levels were.
Household and occupational activity, rather than recreational activities such as sports or exercise class, appeared to provide the most protection, the researchers report.
Physical activity was found to provide the greatest benefits for active postmenopausal women who also did not smoke, drink alcohol and had never given birth. The study found no associations between physical activity and risk of breast cancer for premenopausal women.
Exactly how activity may cut a woman's risk is not yet clear. Researchers have speculated that factors such as reduced body fat or enhanced immunity may explain the connection.
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