Multiple studies have shown that exercise reduces breast cancer. In a study of 212 premenopausal women who exercised for 30 minutes five days a week for 16 weeks, the participants had an increase in lean body mass and a decrease in fat mass when compared to controls. In addition, they had a decrease in esterone which is one of 3 types of estrogen produced by women and thought to carry a greater risk for breast cancer. And there was more 2-OH-esterone (a metabolite of esterone, which is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer) and less 16-OH-esterone (a metabolite of estrogen associated with a higher risk of breast cancer). The importance of this study is that it shows how exercise reduces breast cancer risk.
How is this important for you as a woman? Exercising regularly, if you aren’t already, will not only reduce your risk of breast cancer but also improve so many other aspects of your health. Have your hormones measured, including estrogen metabolites to see your level of esterone, estrogen to progesterone ratio, and 2-OH-esterone and 16-OH-esterone levels. And lastly, get BRCA testing for genetic predisposition if you have a family history for breast cancer. If esterone is elevated or the ratio of estrogen to progesterone is too high, or the ratio of 16-OH-esterone to 2-OH-esterone is too high, there are also other things to do to reduce your risk for breast cancer in addition to exercising regularly.
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Ref: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 May;22(5):756-64. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-1325