TUESDAY, May 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Things that keep you healthy overall, also appear to help lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer, a new review says.
The review found that exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol could all reduce breast cancer odds.
The report, from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, is based on a review of over 100 studies.
On balance, researchers found, regular exercise was tied to small reductions in the risk of breast cancer.
On the other hand, the risk was elevated among women who drank regularly — even at a “moderate” one-drink-a-day level.
Meanwhile, women who were overweight throughout adulthood faced a heightened risk of breast cancer after menopause.
The bottom line is that women can take steps to cut their odds of developing the disease, according to Dr. Anne McTiernan, one of the report authors.
“I think of lifestyle choices as being like wearing a seatbelt. It’s not a guarantee you’ll avoid injury in a car accident, but it significantly reduces your risk,” said McTiernan, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle.
In the United States, a woman has about a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer, on average, according to the American Cancer Society.
Some of the risk factors for the disease cannot be changed — such as older age and having a strong family history of breast cancer.
But lifestyle still makes a big difference, said Dr. Paula Klein, an oncologist with the Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City.
“We know that more than 50 percent of cancers are preventable with lifestyle choices,” said Klein, who wasn’t involved in the report.
So if a woman takes steps to curb her breast cancer risk, Klein said, she’ll also be lowering her odds of developing other cancers — including major diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“And you don’t have to run a marathon, or be skinny like a model,” Klein pointed out.
The research review found that women who were moderately active throughout the day tended to have a lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer — the most common kind.