An active lifestyle, which could involve brisk walking, gardening and doing housework, helps reduce the chance of getting breast cancer, research suggests.
The study involving Oxford
University researchers is thought to be the largest ever to look at
physical activity and breast cancer, and included over 8,000 breast
cancer cases in women. The research is part of ongoing work by the
European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC), one of the biggest
studies into the links between diet, lifestyle and cancer.
researchers found that the most physically active women were 13% less
likely to develop breast cancer compared with those who were physically
Researchers found that women who were moderately active had an 8% lower chance of developing breast cancer.
Tim Key of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford,
who works on the EPIC study, said: ‘This large study further highlights
the benefits of being active – even moderate amounts. There is also a
lot of evidence that exercise reduces the risk of bowel cancer. More
research is needed on other types of cancer, and to investigate the
mechanisms which could explain the links.’
recommends we do 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity – such
as brisk walking. But only 39 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women
are managing this.
Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer
Research UK, said: ‘While maintaining a healthy bodyweight and cutting
back on alcohol remain two of the best ways of reducing our risk of
breast cancer, being active can clearly play a role too – but doesn’t
have to cost you money or too much time.
‘You don’t need to train
like an Olympic athlete but the excitement of watching team GB win so
many golds might have inspired some of us to spend less time on the
sofa. And, as this research confirms, exercise can include anything that
leaves you slightly out of breath like doing the gardening, walking the
dog or housework.
‘Small changes in your daily routine can make
all the difference, like taking the stairs instead of the lift or
walking some of the way to work, school or the shops and add up over the
course of a week.
‘Keeping active could help prevent more than
3,000 cases of cancer in the UK every year. And it can have a positive
effect on your health.’
The EPIC study is funded by Cancer
Research UK, the Medical Research Council and other European agencies.
It is an ongoing study looking into the dietary habits of more than half
a million people in Europe.