Exercise may reduce risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women

A recent study suggests that postmenopausal women who are overweight and inactive can lower inflammation, and therefore cancer risk, through exercise.

In a recent breast cancer prevention trial conducted by Alberta Health Services in Alberta Canada, half of the 320 postmenopausal women who participated were asked to exercise at moderate-to-vigorous levels five days a week for 45 minutes sessions. After one year, the women had lost weight, reduced inflammation and lowered their risk of developing cancer.

Chronic inflammation has been attributed to many chronic conditions including heart disease, Alzheimer's and stroke. Like logs thrown on a fire, inflammation is also known to stimulate the growth of many cancer cells. Throughout the study, scientists tracked the women's C-reactive protein (CRP) levels ” an indication of inflammation.

Experts have known for years that physical activity decreases the risk of chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes, but the new data provides estimates on the number of cases that might be prevented if people were more physically active says epidemiologist Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada, as reported by U.S.A. Today.

Based on this new research, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) concluded that more than 90,000 new cases of cancer could be attributed to lack of physical inactivity.

The analysis was presented earlier this month at AICR's annual conference of the in Washington, D.C. Calculations were based upon U.S. physical activity data and cancer incidence statistics.

Researchers noted, however, that further trials are needed to corroborate their findings regarding the optimal dose of exercise required to lower CRP levels.

In addition to regular exercise, experts say other lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, consuming a "Mediterranean-style diet," and getting adequate sleep, will also help to naturally lower excess inflammation in the body, according to an article published in U.S. News & World Report in 2008.

By Josh Kermisch, executive director of WVCI

Posted December 2, 2011


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