Exercise benefits high-risk breast cancer patients

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

May 22, 2020 -- Exercise appears to play a protective role for women whose breast cancers are likely to return, according to the findings of a clinical trial published on April 2 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The study included 1,607 patients with breast cancer at a higher risk of returning because of large tumors or spread to the lymph nodes. The women were asked about their exercise habits when they enrolled in the study, when they underwent chemotherapy, and then one and two years after treatment.

The women who exercised before and after treatments had a 68% decrease in the risk of death and 55% decrease in the risk of their breast cancer returning. The benefits were sustained with just 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, or playing doubles tennis.

Patients who only started exercising after treatment benefitted, too, with a 43% decrease in the risk of death and 46% decrease in the risk of recurrence. Furthermore, the benefits were the same whether the women performed moderate-intensity exercise or vigorous activity.


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