Staying active after menopause can prevent breast cancer

January 19, 2009 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Staying active after menopause can prevent breast cancer

Regular physical exercise is known to reduce breast cancer risk in women. However, how much should a woman exercise and does it matter if she starts later in life?

To find out, researchers from Germany asked 3,464 breast cancer patients and 6,657 healthy women between the ages of 50 and 74 to complete a survey about their exercise habits between the ages of 30 to 49 and after age 50.

Breast cancer risk after menopause was lower by about one third in the most physically women who exercised for an hour to two hours everyday as compared to women who were physical activity for less than 30 minutes a day.

This effect of physical activity was independent of weight gain, total energy intake or body mass index.

To drop breast cancer risk by one third, these women didn't have to work out hard at the gym. Everyday activities like gardening, cycling or walking to the shops counted as physical activity that helped reduce breast cancer risk.

Physical activity after menopause was found to be particularly beneficial for reducing breast cancer risk because it may counteract the hormonal changes during this life stage.

A closer look at the types of breast cancer revealed that physically active women were less likely to be affected by tumors that form receptors for estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones that fluctuate during menopause.

The bottom line is that it's never too late to start being active. Health experts are encouraging all women to stay or become physically active in their later years to reduce breast cancer risk.

Click here for nutrition strategies that compliment your physical activity routine for breast cancer prevention.

This study was published in journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.