According to the World Cancer Research Fund, breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the world; the good news is that physical activity may help reduce your risk.

Epidemiologist Associate Professor Brigid Lynch who is the deputy director of the Cancer Epidemiology Division at Cancer Council Victoria, says “we can now say definitively that physical activity reduces breast cancer risk,”, her research has found a clear biological link between high levels of hormones like oestrogen and androgens which contribute to approximately 70% of breast cancers.

Exercise helps to naturally reduce the levels of these circulating hormones and may also help with maintaining a healthy size.

“We know that these sex hormones are produced by fat tissue, especially after menopause,” says Lynch. “It’s not just breast cancer; prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancers are also linked to high levels of sex hormones,” Lynch also adds.

Exercise is known to reduce the risk of approximately twelve cancers, the strongest evidence is for bowel, breast, bladder, gastric, oesophageal, prostate and endometrial cancers.  

In the UK, a small study of older men with risk factors for bowel cancer such as being overweight or physically inactive found that after 30 minutes pedalling an exercise bike, blood tests showed they produced a cancer-fighting substance called IL-6, capable of repairing damaged cells.

“The benefits of exercise for reducing bowel cancer risk are usually attributed to weight loss or avoiding weight gain, but emerging evidence suggests exercise lowers the risk, regardless of your weight”. “We did this study to explore how moderate-intensity exercise might affect the growth of cancer cells in ways that had nothing to do with weight,” said Dr Sam Orange, a lecturer in exercise physiology at the University of Newcastle in the UK.

Another reminder to move your body regularly, it is beneficial to all aspects of health. 

Reference:

The original article that I referenced in this post is here: https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/how-many-ways-can-exercise-lower-your-risk-of-cancer-here-s-what-the-science-says-20230406-p5cyt6.html

 

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