Working Out To Prevent Breast Cancer…

Working Out To Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer currently ranks as the second most common cancer diagnosed in women, only second to skin cancer. Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to educate on the factors that leave all women and 1% of men at the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, the preventative measures available, and the early-detection methods recommended.

There are several factors that leave some at risk of developing breast cancer. Some risks are increased simply due to someone’s genetic makeup, like having an immediate family history of the disease such as a sister or mother, while other risks are increased due to certain lifestyle habits, like tobacco exposure or alcohol consumption. One of the most impactful controllable risks is weight. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising daily can not only prevent the development and diagnosis of breast cancer, but it can also ease treatment for those that have already been diagnosed or are currently receiving treatment.

Women over the age of 60 are more often diagnosed with breast cancer, but that does not mean that younger women are not. Studies have shown that pre-menopausal women that are overweight or obese are found to be at a decreased risk of developing breast cancer than those who are not. On the other hand, women who are overweight or obese after menopause are at a significantly higher risk than those who are not. Overall, most breast cancers develop and are diagnosed after menopause, so weight gain before menopause should be avoided.

The reason for this is because estrogen, a hormone created by the ovaries that can stimulate cell-overgrowth, can lead to the formation of malignant tumors developing in the breasts. Because the production of this hormone halts after menopause, the excess and leftover estrogen is stored in the fat of a postmenopausal woman. If a woman has very little fat present, then very little estrogen is reserved, equating to less of a risk of cell-overgrowth and breast cancer development.

At least 20 minutes of moderate daily physical activity, or 140 minutes spread out throughout the week, is recommended by doctors. The risk of breast cancer post-menopause due to being overweight is 30%-60% higher than it is for women that are at a healthy weight. Getting daily physical activity can promote a healthier lifestyle and immune system, regulate hormone production, and it burns fat- leading to lower levels of stored estrogen and a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Some examples of moderate exercises are:

  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Softball
  • Yoga
  • Golfing
  • Doubles Tennis
  • General Yard Work

It’s important to become informed on the preventative measures available to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Keeping up with yearly mammograms, understanding your risk, and being proactive in learning the latest health & safety news could help you or a loved one. If you have any concerns, consult your physician right away.


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