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Active Women Are Less Likely to Get Invasive Breast Cancer

Postmenopausal women who exercise regularly are reducing their risk of developing breast cancer. A French study of nearly 60,000 women followed them for approximately 8 years. Women who walked, ran, swam or did other physical activity on a regular basis were about 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during the study. Those who had previously been active but stopped got no protection.

According to the investigators, “Our results suggest a decrease in risk associated with recent recreational physical activity even of modest levels.”

[Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, online Aug 11, 2014]

This is not the first study to identify exercise as a protective factor against breast cancer. A study of 70,000 postmenopausal American women conducted by the American Cancer Society showed a very similar connection (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, Oct., 2013). This seems like another good reason, among many, for women to lace up their sneakers every day, even after menopause.

Women who are interested in other ways to reduce their risk of breast cancer may wish to listen to our interview with Susan Love, MD, author of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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