GUEST BLOG: The benefits of exercising to prevent Breast Cancer
Published 21 Sep 2017
Whilst more women are surviving breast cancer every year, the number of women being diagnosed with the disease each year is also increasing.
As the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer, I am always pleased to hear that breast cancer survival rates are increasing. However, more and more women are being diagnosed with the disease each year.
Since records began in 1971, breast cancer rates in England have increased by 99%. Yet, it is believed that 1 in 4 breast cancers are preventable. This is why I believe it is important that more attention and research is directed to further understanding how we can prevent breast cancer.
We all know that making small lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, can be beneficial to our health. However, the beneficial link between exercise and reducing the risk of breast cancer is rarely reported on.
Moderate exercising is particularly beneficial to post-menopausal women, and is estimated to reduce the incidence of breast cancer amongst this group of women by 20-30%.
Exercise also helps those with breast cancer and can reduce mortality by an estimated 24%. Not only this, but exercise of course has traditional benefits such as improving mental health in breast cancer patients.
Why physical activity decreases the risk of breast cancer is not fully known. That is why more research should be dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer, so that both women and men can make informed lifestyle choices.
Having said this, it is known that exercise helps to reduce body fat which decreases the level of hormones and growth factors which are secreted by fat cells. The benefits of exercise also include reducing inflammation and enhancing the immune system.
We know that exercising regularly is good for our health and wellbeing, but the benefits of exercising on preventing breast cancer is little known. That is why I support Breast Cancer UK’s “Prevention Week” to draw awareness to the small lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
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