Moderate Exercise May Increase Breast Cancer Survival.
Breast cancer is a physically and emotionally traumatizing disease. Unfortunately, the incidence of breast cancer has been increasing steadily for decades. Today breast cancer rates have escalated to the point where women's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8. In 2007, the American Cancer Society estimated that nearly 240,510 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 40,460 women would die from it. This means that approximately every two and a half minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer and that approximately every thirteen minutes, a woman dies from this disease. Breast cancer has become the second largest cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer, and the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 35 and 54.
Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health. It is performed for many different reasons. These include strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, improving athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance and for enjoyment. Frequent and regular physical exercise boosts the immune system, and may help prevent diseases such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity. It also improves mental health and helps prevent depression. Moderate exercise increases heart rate and breathing rate. Examples of this type of activity would be: easy jogging, walking, bike riding, swimming, water aerobics, gardening, etc.
A study underrtaken at the Harvard School of Public Health examined four observational studies to determine whether physical activity could improve quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis and on increased breast cancer survival. The studies did report a decrease in total mortality among women with breast cancer who were physically active. Two potential mechanisms by which physical activity could affect breast cancer survival would be the estrogen pathway and the insulin pathway. The researchers concluded that women with breast cancer could benefit from moderate exercise.1
1 Ogunleye AA, Holmes MD. Physical activity and breast cancer survival. Breast Cancer Res. Sep2009;11(5):106.