Research is continually showing us that exercise and fitness is key in lowering women’s risk of breast cancer. According to The New York Times, a new study using female rats found that the most fit animal models had a significantly lower cancer risk after being exposed to known carcinogens. These animals were compared to unfit female rats.
The research found that fitness and exercise is something that is at least partially innate in animals from birth. Exercise can augment breast cancer prevention, but every person has a general baseline of fitness, the researchers found.
This essentially means that the genes you are born with does matter to how healthy you will be throughout your life. Nonetheless, exercising regularly is important and does decrease your breast cancer risk.
This study was published in July 2017 in the journal Carcinogenesis. The researchers used a strain of rats based on their genetic make-up. The strain started with testing rats on a treadmill to determine their fitness level. The rats that ran the longest without stopping or tiring were mated with each other.
Rats that stopped running soon after starting and tired quickly were also mated with each other. Then the two strains reproduced through multiple generations and those rats were tested to determine their cancer risk when exposed to a carcinogen.
The rats also didn’t exercise so their cancer risk depended solely on their genetic fitness levels. The animal models were exposed to a carcinogen before hitting puberty.
The outcomes are major. Rats with low genetic fitness levels were four times as likely to get breast cancer when compared to rats with high hereditary fitness levels. These rats were also more likely to develop breast cancer earlier and continue to grow tumors later in life.
Another study of female breast cancer patients shows how two hours of moderate to intense physical activity can prevent the growth of breast cancer cells, according to a press release from the American Association for Cancer Research.
The researchers obtained serum from breast cancer patients after two hours of exercise and found that the prevention of cancer cell growth was at least partially due to activating epinephrine in the Hippo signaling pathway.
This type of research shows just how important exercise is to survival among breast cancer patients. Physical fitness on a regular basis as well as the innate genetics among all of us will determine our overall health including breast cancer risk.
While we cannot change our genetics, we can continue to go on walks or hikes, go swimming, play a sport, or just hit the gym. If you exercise five days a week, you’ll decrease your breast cancer risk and find your health improved.