October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With breast cancer reaching epidemic proportions and increasingly affecting women at a younger age, there is even more reason now to take preventive measures such as exercise.
According to the American Cancer Society, “Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.”
In fact, according to a recent report in USA Today, "One of the most important ways women can think about prevention is by maintaining a healthy weight throughout adulthood," says the American Cancer Society's Susan Gapstur. "Ways to achieve that are clearly through eating a healthy diet and being physically active."
Gapstur specifies that women should work on maintaining a healthy weight during adulthood.
The article cites The National Cancer Institute researcher, Rachel Ballard-Barbash, stating that obese women are 30 percent to 50 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who are at a healthy weight.
“In the Women's Health Initiative, a landmark government-funded study, postmenopausal women who walked 30 minutes a day lowered their breast cancer risk by 20%.”
There is good news for women who have maintained a healthy lifestyle for most of their life according to Cancer.gov. “Although most evidence suggests that physical activity reduces breast cancer risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, high levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity during adolescence may be especially protective. Although a lifetime of regular, vigorous activity is thought to be of greatest benefit, women who increase their physical activity after menopause may also experience a reduced risk compared with inactive women.”
The site goes onto to state that a majority of the studies suggest that 30 to 60 minutes per day of moderate- to high- intensity physical activity contribute to reducing the risk of breast cancer.