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Regular Exercise Reduces Risk

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Many studies have shown an association between regular exercise (moderate or high intensity) and lower breast cancer risk. A study provides more evidence of this relationship and adds some new details:

  • Women who exercised regularly throughout their lifetimes were 20% less likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who didn't regularly exercise.
  • Women who regularly exercised the most throughout their lifetimes were 26% less likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who regularly exercised the least.
  • Women in their 50s who regularly exercised more after age 50 than they did before age 50 were 34%-41% less likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who didn't exercise more after age 50.
  • Regular, moderate intensity exercise helped lower breast cancer risk no matter a woman's weight, family history of breast cancer, or menopausal status. In short, just about every woman can lower her breast cancer risk by regularly exercising at moderate intensity.

Two points about exercise and breast cancer risk are worth emphasizing:

  • It's never too late to start. The women in this study who exercised more after age 50 had the biggest drop in breast cancer risk.
  • The intensity of the exercise matters. As in other studies, this study found that regular exercise needed to be least moderate in intensity to offer the most benefits.

To learn more about how exercise and a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of breast cancer, visit the Breastcancer.org Breast Cancer Risk Factors: What You Can Do to Lower Risk section.

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