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Physical activity improves survival in women with breast cancer

A prospective study published in JAMA has shown that women with breast cancer who are active have lesser risk// of dying from breast cancer as compared to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Evidence from various studies support that there is reduced risk of cancer in women who are physically active. This study analyzed the responses from nearly 3000 registered nurses in the Nurses' Health Study with stage I, II, II breast cancer. These nurses were diagnosed over a period of 4 years and were followed up either until death or till June 2002. Physical activity was measured as metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours.

Three MET-hours is equivalent to walking at average pace of 2 to 2.9 mph for 1 hour.

The results of the analysis showed that women who were engaged in more physical activity had less relative risk of dying from the breast cancer compared to those who performed minimal physical activity. This protective benefit was seen more among those women who had hormone-responsive tumors. The greatest benefit occurred in women who performed physical activity equivalent to walking 3 to 5 hours per week at an average pace. Studies have shown that physical activity leads to lower levels of estrogens, progesterone and luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones, reduced endogenous estrogen exposure which explains the lesser risk The study concluded that women with breast cancer can improve survival with moderate exercise which is just one dimension in support of exercise.

Merits of physical activity are many folds and are part of the routine recommendations for disease prevention and disease control. So get ready to include exercises in your daily routine.

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