Breast Cancer Prevention Arlington VA

For several years, there's been one sunny spot in the cloudy field of breast cancer prevention: exercise. Studies have shown that women who work out with some vigor and regularity reduce their risk of developing this scary disease, which kills 40,000 women a year.

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Fairfax Northern Virginia Hematology & Oncolo
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A Gentler Way to Prevent Breast Cancer

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For several years, there’s been one sunny spot in the cloudy field of breast cancer prevention: exercise. Studies have shown that women who work out with some vigor and regularity reduce their risk of developing this scary disease, which kills 40,000 women a year. A new study presents even brighter news. According to researchers at the Northern California Cancer Center in San Francisco, you can bask in similar benefits without exercising too hard or hitting the gym.

The researchers interviewed more than 2,500 women—some with and some without breast cancer—about their exercise habits from their teen years on. When they looked at all kinds of activity, the findings were consistent with other studies: Serious exercisers had less breast cancer than sedentary women.

But the surprise came when they tallied the women’s moderate activities, like brisk walking, ballroom dancing, bowling, housecleaning, and gardening. Women with an average of 17 hours or more of moderate activity per week had a 33 percent lower cancer rate than the least active women in their category. “That’s important because it suggests that women don’t need to run marathons to do something useful for their health,” says epidemiologist and study investigator Esther M. John.

Soon the researchers will use their data to tackle another lingering question: whether you can better reduce your breast cancer risk by being active during a particular time in your life.

Until then, there’s no time like the present to take steps to protect your breast health. And taking steps, across the dance floor or down the street, may be all you need.

—Genevieve Des Jarlais

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