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Breast Cancer Fitness Treatment

Exercise Improves Breast Cancer Outcomes

A number of lifestyle changes can improve a woman’s outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis, but exercise proves to be the best one, according to new research.
Women with breast cancer, whether newly diagnosed or at any time in their “survivorship” phase, need to exercise regularly and avoid weight gain, said Ellen Warner from Odette Cancer Center at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, who coauthored the research review. Separate studies show less than 13 percent of women with breast cancer get the recommended 150 minutes per week of physical activity.
Warner and coauthor Julie Hamer reviewed nearly 70 articles that looked at lifestyle modifications that might impact the risk of breast cancer recurrence and survival after diagnosis. They found regular physical activity can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to women who were more sedentary.
Other lifestyle changes that may provide some benefit to breast cancer sufferers include weight loss, diet and, for smokers, smoking cessation.
Overweight or obese women also have a higher risk of recurrence and death, though more research is needed to determine whether weight loss improves outcomes. Studies are underway to examine this further.
Research shows breast cancer recurrence rates are similar whether women eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains or a diet high in processed foods, though diets high in saturated fat can increase the risk of death from the disease. And everyone should stop smoking.
“Women with breast cancer don’t need to make extreme diet changes (like cutting out meat, dairy, sugar, soy),” Warner told Reuters Health. “There is no evidence any of these are effective. They can eat anything in moderation.
“Exercise has the greatest benefit on lowering risk of recurrence and has many other secondary benefits like helping with weight management (which itself lowers the risk of recurrence) and fewer side effects from chemo, radiation and hormone therapy.”

Related:
Swim for Your Life — and Health

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