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Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk
  Even moderate workouts are enough to do the trick







Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk
Even moderate workouts are enough to do the trick

Here's another reason to put down that remote control and get moving: Research shows that moderate, simple exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer -- even if you don't start until your menopause years.

In a study published in the Sept 10, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle confirmed earlier findings showing that exercise does indeed reduce the risk of breast cancer.

But going one step farther, they also report that even moderate physical activity, such as 30 minutes of walking three times a week, offers substantial protection as well -- something previous studies have not shown.

"The important news here is that regular exercise allows a woman some measure of control over her personal risk profile for breast cancer. Plus, as long as the exercise is consistent, she doesn't even have to work that hard to get the benefits," says study author Dr. Anne McTiernan, a member of Fred Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division and director of the center's Prevention Center.

Currently, researchers aren't sure how or why exercise exerts its protective effects against breast cancer. However, McTiernan hypothesizes that a reduction in body fat is the key. Studies have shown that excess fat cells help convert androgens and other hormones into excess estrogen, long suspected of having links to breast cancer.

McTiernan also says that exercise reduces the amount of estrogen circulating in the blood, offering additional protection.

Completing the circle, other studies have shown that exercise can also help keep insulin levels low, which, in turn, helps reduce body fat.


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