However, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) warns that even though exercise like brisk walking can help reduce the risk of breast cancer among women of all ages, only a handful of Americans are aware of this fact.
For this study, researchers have collaborated on an analysis of the global research on lifestyle and breast cancer risk. Based on data from AICR's 2017 awareness survey, only four of 10 Americans (or 39 percent) were aware that physical activity can help lower cancer risk.
Aside from breast cancer, regular exercise can help protect individuals against colon and endometrial cancers.
Dr. Nigel Brockton, AICR's Director of Research, said that their report, which summarized research from all over the globe, determined that "regular vigorous physical activity" can effectively reduce breast cancer among both pre- and post-menopausal women. He added that women of various ages can minimize their risk of breast cancer by exercising regularly. While it may seem like a simple change in regular habits, it's "a simple message that can have a powerful impact." (Related: 4 Ways to Lower Stress and Prevent Breast Cancer.)
Based on AICR research, at least one out of three annual breast cancer cases in the U.S. could be prevented by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing alcohol intake.
For the first time, the report titled "Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer" also illustrated that vigorous physical activity like cycling or running can prevent pre-menopausal breast cancer. There is also data which proved that brisk physical activity can minimize the risk for post-menopausal breast cancers, the most common form of this cancer.
For vigorous exercise, pre-menopausal women who were the most active had a 17 percent lower risk and post-menopausal women had a 10 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who were the least active.
The risk for post-menopausal breast cancer can be lowered with both vigorous and moderate exercise. Total moderate activity, like gardening and walking, can lower the risk for cancer by 13 percent when comparing the most versus the least active women.
Alice Bender, Director of Nutrition Programs, concluded, "Our report focused on lowering risk for breast cancer, but research also shows that for everyone, including cancer survivors, taking these same lifestyle steps can help lower risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes."
The report determined that new mothers who breastfeed can lower their risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancers as well. Except for non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and in the U.S.
Incorporate more of these foods into your diet to help prevent various cancers:
You can learn more about breast cancer and how to prevent it at Cancer.news.