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the Message Continues ... 8/159


Newsletter for November 2014




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How to turn back the clock on breast cancer



The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is age: The older you are, the higher your risk. But while you can’t give back any of your birthdays, you can offset some of this risk with a healthy habit that makes cancer less likely.

French researchers have found that postmenopausal women who begin a consistent exercise program can give themselves a priceless birthday present: a significantly reduced risk of suffering invasive breast cancer.

The amount of exercise that produces the benefit consists of at least four hours of walking a week. In technical terms, the four hours of walking is called “12 MET-h (metabolic equivalent task-hours).”

“(The) 12 MET-h [metabolic equivalent task-hours] per week corresponds to walking four hours per week or cycling or engaging in other sports two hours per week and it is consistent with the World Cancer Research Fund recommendations of walking at least 30 minutes daily,” says researcher Agnès Fournier, Ph.D., who is with the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France. “So, our study shows that it is not necessary to engage in vigorous or very frequent activities; even walking 30 minutes per day is beneficial.”

In the eight-year study, older women who engaged in an exercise program enjoyed a 10 percent decreased risk of invasive breast cancer in comparison to women who didn’t exercise.

On the other hand, women who had exercised when they were younger, but had stopped moving around very much, did not have a lower risk of cancer.

“We found that recreational physical activity, even of modest intensity, seemed to have a rapid impact on breast cancer risk. However, the decreased breast cancer risk we found associated with physical activity was attenuated when activity stopped,” says Fournier.  “As a result, postmenopausal women who exercise should be encouraged to continue and those who do not exercise should consider starting because their risk of breast cancer may decrease rapidly.”








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