Reduce Your Risk

Exercise & activity

Physical activity can help reduce breast cancer risk by up to 30%

It’s thought that physical activity helps lower the levels of certain circulating hormones and reduces inflammation, which can help lower the likelihood of cancer developing and progressing.

Physical activity, including structured exercise, lowers levels of hormones, such as oestrogen, androgen, insulin, leptin (a hormone associated with hunger) and certain growth factors. Increased levels of all of these have been associated with breast cancer. Being active also generally improves the capacity of the immune system to protect you from cancer.

Being active also keeps your weight under control which plays a significant role in lowering your risk and improves survival rates if you already have breast cancer. One study found as little as an hour of walking per week was beneficial, with maximum benefits found in women who did 3-5 hours per week.

What you can do

The World Health Organisation recommends 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous, physical activity weekly. If you are post-menopausal, you will benefit even more from some kind of regular exercise, be it walking to work, or going to the gym.

Physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym or running a marathon. Building small spurts into your daily routine can help.

If you’re unable to do structured exercise, then try to build activity into your working day. Simple lifestyle changes can really make a difference. For example:

  • Walk or cycle to work, or when taking your children to school.
  • Get off the bus a couple of stops earlier to get some paces into your working day.
  • At work, use the toilet on the floor above and use the stairs to get there.
  • Dance whilst you are doing the housework.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalators or lift.
  • If you’re on the phone, stand or walk instead of sitting.
  • Use fitness apps/trackers that remind you to take a few steps or move.
  • If you’re sitting, try to regularly activate your legs by rolling from your toes to your heels.

A donation of just £5 can help us reach out to new mums with educational information and guidance on how they can protect the future health of their children.

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A donation of £30 can help provide a Breast Cancer Prevention kit to help our Ambassadors deliver talks, providing healthy lifestyle advice and practical tips that can help people reduce their risk of breast cancer.

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Your donation of £100 can help train one of our PhD students, who work on vital research which aims to understand the causes of breast cancer and identify risk factors.

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