It's no secret that exercise has health benefits. It helps people fend off a host of chronic diseases, and doctors say it can even reduce a person's risk of developing cancer.
Now, a large-scale study from the American Cancer Society shows that even moderate exercise-- walking just seven hours a week-- can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 14 percent.
"The special thing about this study is that it was large enough to look at other aspects of how activity might be beneficial. So for example, they were able to identify that physical activity, walking seven hours a week, was beneficial for reducing breast cancer, whether it was estrogen receptor positive or negative," said Dr. Kim Dittus, an oncologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
And it also didn't matter if a woman was overweight before the study or gained weight during it. Researchers say the benefits applied to all. They looked at more than 73,000 post-menopausal women. And those who exercised vigorously saw a 25 percent risk reduction, while those who walked just seven hours a week benefited, as well.
Doctors say physical activity regulates hormones, including estrogen and insulin which can fuel breast cancer growth.
"The bottom line is that exercise is beneficial for all of us, and there's no reason why any of us shouldn't be out there exercising when we can," Dittus said.
Just one more study in the arsenal of information regarding the benefits of exercise, this one focusing on keeping breast cancer at bay by walking each week.
The study linking moderate exercise to breast cancer risk reduction was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
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