Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Healthy Habits Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Three healthy habits contribute to lowering the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, according to a recent study: engaging in regular physical activity,  maintaining a healthy weight, and consuming alcohol in moderation.

The American Cancer Society has long maintained healthy lifestyle recommendations for cancer prevention, concerning diet, exercise and alcohol consumption:
  • maintain a body mass index of 18.5 to under 25
  • engage in 30 minutes of vigorous exercise at least 5 days per week (45-60 minute sessions are preferable)
  • drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day
A large retrospective study, published this week in Breast Cancer Research by researchers from the University of Rochester, followed more than 85,000 post-menopausal women for over 5 years, and surveyed how well they followed the American Cancer Society recommendations listed above, where the vigorous exercise requirement was lowered to 20 minutes at least 5 days per week. The conclusion? "Whether or not you have a family history, the risk of breast cancer was lower for women engaged in these three sets of behavior compared to women who were not," says principal author Dr. Robert Gramling.

Indeed, the study shows that adherence to these recommendations resulted in approximately 24% lower incidence of breast cancer for women with no family history of breast cancer, and in approximately 14% lower incidence of breast cancer for women with a family history of breast cancer. Dr. Susan Gapstur, vice president of the epidemiology research program of the American Cancer Society, believes that breast cancer risk reduction might be even more significant if vigorous exercise sessions are increased to 45-60 minutes at least 5 days per week.

Want to read more about it? Try CBC NewsHealthDay, NIH Medline, or HealthLine.

The Study in Breast Cancer Research
Body Mass Index Calculator at the National Heart and Blood Institute
American Cancer Society cancer prevention guidelines

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