Women who get regular exercise (physical activity) have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who are not active [119-125].
When the evidence is looked at as a whole, regular exercise appears to lower breast cancer risk by 10-20 percent [119-125].
This benefit is seen most clearly in postmenopausal women [119-125].
For a summary of research studies on exercise (physical activity) and breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
The American Cancer Society recommends 150 minutes (2½ hours) of physical activity a week to lower overall cancer risk .
You don’t need to do intense exercise to lower your risk of breast cancer. Activity equal to walking 30 minutes a day may lower risk by about 3 percent .
Exercise may lower breast cancer risk in a few ways.
It can help with weight control. Being lean lowers the risk of breast cancer after menopause [63-65].
Being active may also lower blood estrogen levels [126-129]. Women with lower blood estrogen levels have a lower risk of breast cancer than women with higher levels .
And, exercise may boost the body’s immune system so 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.
Physical activity during adulthood lowers breast cancer risk [119-125]. Researchers are now studying whether being active during childhood and the teen years also lowers breast cancer risk.
Findings to date are mixed [131-132]. Some findings show women who were more active as children and teens may have a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who were less active as children and teens .
Other findings show physical activity during childhood and the teen years may slightly lower the risk of breast cancer before menopause, but has no impact on the risk of breast cancer after menopause .
Learn more about early life exposures and breast cancer risk.
Some studies suggest being active lowers the risk of [133-138]:
Learn more about physical activity and breast cancer survival.
Being active is good for your health, but it can be hard to find time to exercise.
Do any activity you enjoy that gets you moving (for example, dancing or gardening).
The tips below may help you become more active. If you can, :
Healthy lifestyle choices have benefits at any age.
Being active, eating a balanced diet and making other healthy lifestyle choices can be physically and mentally rewarding at any point in life.
Learn more about a healthy lifestyle and breast cancer risk.
SUSAN G. KOMEN®'S BREAST SELF-AWARENESS MESSAGES
1. Know your risk
2. Get screened
3. Know what is normal for you and see a health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes (see images):
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices
Download Komen's Breast Self-Awareness Messages card for more information.
*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.
Research Fast Facts: Prevention