Healthy LivingFact Sheet
Research Fast Facts: PreventionFact Sheet
Women who get regular exercise (physical activity) may have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who are inactive [62-64]. Although not all studies show this benefit, when the evidence is looked at as a whole, regular exercise appears to lower breast cancer risk by about 10 to 20 percent [62-64]. This benefit is seen most clearly in postmenopausal women [62-64].
Read Komen’s perspective on physical activity and breast cancer risk(December 2010).*
How much physical activity is needed to reduce breast cancer risk?
The American Cancer Society recommends 150 minutes of physical activity a week to lower overall cancer risk . However, you don’t need to have a strenuous exercise routine to get some breast cancer risk reduction benefit. Activity equal to walking 30 minutes a day may lower risk by about three percent .
Exercise can help with weight control. For postmenopausal women, being lean lowers the risk of breast cancer [65-67]. And, physical activity may lower estrogen levels in women, which can also protect against breast cancer [68-70]. Physical activity may also boost the body’s immune system so that it can help kill or slow the growth of cancer cells .
Learn more about body weight and breast cancer risk.
Learn more about estrogen and breast cancer risk.
For a summary of research studies on physical activity and breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research section.
Some studies suggest being active lowers the risk of [72-78]:
Breast cancer survivors do not need intense exercise to get a survival benefit. One large study showed that survivors who got activity equal to a 30-minute brisk walk several times a week had a 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer death compared to less active survivors . Women who got more activity got more benefit .
Regular exercise has other health benefits for breast cancer survivors. It can increase positive mood and improve physical condition and movement, which in turn, can enhance quality of life [79-82].
Learn more about physical activity and breast cancer survival.
For a summary of research studies on physical activity and breast cancer survival, visit the Breast Cancer Research section.
Being active is good for your health, but it can be hard to find time to exercise. Do whatever activities you enjoy most (for example, dancing or gardening) that get you moving. The following tips may help you become more active :
Making healthy lifestyle choices has benefits at any age. Being more active, eating a balanced diet and becoming more aware of your health can be physically and mentally rewarding at any point in life.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website www.choosemyplate.gov has free tools to help you set weight and activity goals for healthy living. Supertracker is a tool to help you plan, track and analyze your diet and exercise.
Susan G. Komen®’s breast self-awareness messages
1. Know your risk
2. Get screened
3. Know what is normal for you and see your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes (see images):
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices
*Please note, the information provided within Komen Perspectives articles is only current as of the date of posting. Therefore, some information may be out of date at this time.