Experts warn that people who don’t exercise regularly are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows “strong evidence” that higher levels of physical activity and “sedentary time” have the potential to reduce breast cancer risk.
The experts behind the study say there is now a clear cause-and-effect relationship between exercise and a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Using a genetic prediction technique called Mendelian Randomisation in the study, the experts say they can bolster previous evidence that exercise reduces cancer risk.
For the new study, the experts included data from 130,957 women of European ancestry – of whom 69,838 had tumors that had already begun to metastasize; 6,667 people with tumors did not, and a comparison group of 54,452 women without breast cancer.
Their results showed that overall activity was associated with about 40% lower breast risk. cancerwhile being active (three days or more a week) is associated with a similar reduced risk of pre- or premenopausal breast cancer.
On the other hand, being sedentary is associated with a higher risk of certain types of breast cancer.
The team, which includes experts from the University of Bristol, concludes: “Our study provides strong evidence that overall more physical activity, more vigorous activity and more sedentary time may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Most common cancer
“Wider adoption of an active lifestyle could reduce the burden from the most common cancer in women.”
There are around 55,900 new cases of breast cancer in the UK each year, making the country the most common cancer.
Drinking too much alcohol, being overweight or obese, and being older all increase the risk of breast cancer.
Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, senior research communications director at Breast Cancer Now, said: “A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes in the UK and if nothing changes, every eight There’s going to be a woman every minute in the next 10 years, so we urgently need to find new ways to prevent people from developing this horrible disease.”
Many factors can affect someone’s likelihood of being diagnosed, she said, but the amount of physical activity has a marked effect.
“By looking at people who may be genetically predisposed to have different levels of physical activity, this innovative study reinforces existing evidence on the importance of reducing the amount of time we sit and increase travel time to reduce breast cancer risk.
“This study highlights how important it is for us to help people start making small, healthy lifestyle changes that can positively impact their health and help reduce their risk of breast cancer. “