Getting breast cancer is tough enough the first time around. So, no one wants breast cancer to return, and most of us would do just about anything to prevent it. This week a new review surfaced about how to try to avoid repeat breast cancer cases, and the news is positive. The research regarding breast cancer and exercise was conducted by Ellen Warner, MD, of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada, in collaboration with co-author Julia Hamer, and the findings were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ.)
Lifestyle changes, indeed, are essential, whether you’re newly diagnosed or a breast cancer survivor. However, one of the best ways to avoid a breast cancer repeat is exercise. Losing weight is important, too, but regular exercise has significantly helped breast cancer patients.
Warner noted that most breast cancer patients do not do the recommended amount of weekly exercise. Exercise has always has been a major factor in staying healthy, but now to know it can reduce the chances of breast cancer returning, exercise is that much more appealing.
Warner and co-author Hamer worked together by reading more than 70 articles concerning lifestyle change and reoccurrence of breast cancer. Any healthy lifestyle change makes an impact, including diet, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol, dealing with stress and sleeping more efficiently. However, exercise seemed to be the top change that reduced breast cancer reoccurrence.
Did you know that breast cancer patients and survivors should get in 150 minutes of exercise per week? I didn’t know this, and I am a breast cancer survivor. Unfortunately, only 13% of women engage in 150 minutes of physical activity a week. It is time we changed that to a higher number because exercising daily can reduce the chances of dying from breast cancer by 40%, compared to people who do not exercise.
Exercise not only improves the odds of reducing recurring cases, but it has even more awesome benefits. If you are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, exercising every day can help lessen the side effects that you might experience. Exercising also most likely will assist you in losing weight.
Let’s talk about weight for a minute. Were you aware that gaining weight, either during or after breast cancer treatment, can increase your chances of having breast cancer again? Sadly, it also can increase the chances of dying from breast cancer. In other words, gaining weight and breast cancer should never go together.
What about changing your diet when you have breast cancer? Interestingly enough, women who have breast cancer do not need to drastically change their diet. Diet had little to do with increasing or reducing death rates from breast cancer or getting it again. However, if you eat a high volume of high-saturated fats, the chances of death from breast cancer increase. Soy products can reduce recurrence and dying from breast cancer.
The effects of alcohol and vitamins intake need to have more research pertaining to breast cancer. However, quitting smoking is extremely important for anyone, but especially if you have, or had breast cancer. Smoking increases the chance of death, so quitting helps with overall survival.
I know that after reading the research, I am starting today to reach the 150-minute exercise goal. I want to live for as many years as I can. So, let’s get moving!
Note: Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Breast Cancer News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to breast cancer.