CINCINNATI - Health & Lifestyle expert Mary Beth Knight knows first hand that exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer. She has some tips on how exercise can offer some protection from breast cancer.
Mary Beth's notes:
Some studies suggest that exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and experts believe this is because exercise lowers a woman's ongoing exposure to estrogen, which is believed to contribute to cancer growth.
The interesting thing is that exercise and weight control may work together in preventing breast cancer. Dr. Anne McTiernan, an internist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, found that the women in her study who exercised the most had a 22 percent decreased risk of breast cancer.
Growing evidence seems to support the benefits of exercise as a possible treatment for cancer. Several studies have examined the relationship between exercise, rehabilitation and quality of life in cancer patients and reported positive findings.
Studies have followed women undergoing breast cancer treatment who added moderate exercise to their treatment regimen. In most studies women exercised at a moderate intensity (60-85 percent of maximal heart rate) for twenty to 30 minutes, three times per week from four to 12 weeks. The exercise programs included bicycle ergometer and walking programs.
These studies have found that overall, exercise had a positive effect on physical and psychological functioning of cancer patients while in treatment. These benefits include the following objective and self-reported findings:
• Increased functional capacity and VO2Max
• Decreased body fat
• Increased lean muscle mass
• Decreased nausea and fatigue
• Improved natural defense mechanisms
• Improved sense of control
• Improved mood
• Improved self-esteem
• Self-reported improved quality of life
Other studies found that exercising cancer patients had improved work capacity, lower heart rates at given exercise intensity, increased maximum workloads and time to exhaustion than did non-exercising cancer patients.
Experts say that exercising four or more hours a week may decrease hormone levels and help lower breast cancer risk.
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