Running three times a week could cut breast cancer risk by a third, study finds

Results from more than 131,000 women were analysed by University of Bristol researchers

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Running three times a week and spending less time sitting could cut the risk of breast cancer by more than a third, new international research has found.

The study by the University of Bristol looked at results from more than 131,000 women of European ancestry to see how exercise impacted their risk of breast cancer, the most common form of the disease found in women.

Researchers said there was “strong evidence” that greater physical activity and less inactivity were likely to reduce breast cancer risk.

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Greater overall physical activity, greater vigorous activity and lower sedentary time are likely to reduce breast cancer risk
University of Bristol study

Women who jogged at least three times a week were found to have a 38 per cent lower risk of getting the disease, with similar results found in women who stayed active throughout their lifetime.

The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine also found that bouts of high-intensity exercise were likely to offer more protection than light exercise.

“Our study provides strong evidence that greater overall physical activity, greater vigorous activity and lower sedentary time are likely to reduce breast cancer risk,” the authors concluded.

“More widespread adoption of active lifestyles may reduce the burden from the most common cancer in women.”

The activity was reported from wearable accelerometers to measure activity levels and self-reported vigorous physical activity.

To achieve their results, the researchers used Mendelian randomisation to measure the variation in genes among subjects to determine a clear relationship between exercise and their cancer risk.

Data was pooled from 76 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium in Australia and Western Europe.

It included 77,000 women already diagnosed with breast cancer and a comparison group of 54,452 women without the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation’s international agency for research on cancer, breast cancer accounted for 21.4 per cent of all UAE cancer cases in 2020, the most recent year for comparative data.

Of the 4,807 cancer cases diagnosed in both sexes that year, 1,030 were breast cancer.

It is not the first time a positive link has been made between exercise and the disease.

Analysis of the benefits of exercise in women receiving treatment for breast cancer were evaluated in a separate study by the University of Madrid in 2014.

Researchers found supervised exercise programmes reduced side effects of treatments and increased a patient’s quality of life and survival.

According to doctors, a high ratio of waist to hip circumference has been linked to several diseases, not just breast cancer.

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Updated: September 07, 2022, 10:27 AM
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