Even Modest Levels of Physical Activity Decrease Breast Cancer Risk


New research suggests that only 10 to 19 hours of low-level physical activity per week may cut breast cancer risk by 30%.



As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, obesity and decreased levels of physical activity have both been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer.  Among all major types of cancer, the links between excessive body weight and sedentary lifestyle are arguably the strongest for breast cancer, the second greatest cancer killer of women.

I have written extensively about physical activity, obesity, diet and other modifiable lifestyle risk factors as they pertain to cancer risk.  Now, a newly published clinical research study in the journal Cancer adds further important information regarding breast cancer risk related to physical activity levels and obesity.

The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project assessed 1,504 women with breast cancer and 1,555 women without breast cancer.  Specific factors that were evaluated in this study included levels of physical activity, weight gain, and body size.  The women involved in this public health study ranged from 20 to 98 years of age.

The findings of this study offer women very important information regarding the amount and frequency of physical activity necessary to significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Based upon the findings of this important study, moderate physical activity, when performed 10 to 19 hours per week, was associated with a 30 percent reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer among adult women.  It is important to note that even relatively modest levels of physical activity still appeared to provide this same level of breast cancer risk reduction benefit, including walking, jogging, riding a bicycle, and other relatively non-strenuous sports-related activities.  Taking the stairs instead of using elevators, and even actively working in one’s garden, also appeared to significantly reduce breast cancer risk.

There is an important caveat to this good news, however.  Gaining significant weight after menopause appeared to abolish the cancer risk reduction benefit of moderate physical activity, even among women who reported high levels of physical activity.  (Obesity is a well known risk factor for breast cancer, particularly when excess weight is gained after the onset of menopause.  Obesity is also known to increase the risk of cancer recurrence in women previously diagnosed with breast cancer.)

While the findings of this important study linking breast cancer risk with obesity and low levels of physical activity are not new, this study does provide women with new, specific physical activity recommendations with which to lower their risk of developing breast cancer.  Moreover, women do not have to become professional athletes in order to cut their breast cancer risk by nearly one-third, based upon the findings of this clinical study.  Instead, just 10 to 19 hours of relatively modest physical activity per week may be enough to significantly decrease one’s risk of developing breast cancer!

At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


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2 Comments on "Even Modest Levels of Physical Activity Decrease Breast Cancer Risk"

  1. Obesity, Diet, Exercise, Estrogen, Testosterone and Breast Cancer Risk | Weekly Health Update on Sun, 1st Jul 2012 9:21 pm 

    […] modest levels of regular physical activity with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer (Even Modest Levels of Physical Activity Decrease Breast Cancer Risk).  This week, I will present a newly published clinical research study that may help to explain […]

  2. Vitamin D Improves Cancer Survival | Weekly Health Update | Cancer-healthylifestylereview.info on Sun, 15th Jul 2012 5:27 pm 

    […]   New research shows that higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood increase survival among colorect…l”>  […]

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