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Girls, young women can cut risk of early breast cancer through regular exercise
Date:5/13/2008

en had filled out detailed annual questionnaires about their levels of physical activity from age 12 on. After six years of follow-up, 550 women had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The researchers found the age-adjusted incidence rates for invasive breast cancer dropped from 194 cases per 100,000 person-years in the least active women to 136 cases in the most active. The levels of physical activity reported by the most active women were the equivalent of running 3.25 hours a week or walking 13 hours a week. The benefit of exercise was not linked to a particular sport or intensity but related to total activity.

You dont have to be a marathon runner to get the risk-reducing benefits of exercise, Colditz adds.

One leading theory to explain the lower risk of breast cancer among active young women is that exercise reduces their exposure to estrogens. Numerous studies have shown that the more estrogen a woman is exposed to, the greater her risk for breast cancer. Thus, women who begin menstruating later or enter menopause early have a lower risk of breast cancer. And young women who are physically active are more likely to start their periods later and less likely to have regular cycles when they begin their periods.


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Contact: Caroline Arbanas
arbanasc@wustl.edu
314-286-0109
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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