October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so what better time than now to become more aware of how you can give yourself the best chance of not coming down the deadly disease.
While genetics may come into play, there are certain lifestyle changes that can be made to minimize your breast cancer risk. One such lifestyle choice is exercise.
According to new research, postmenopausal African-American women who exercise vigorously for more than two hours a week can reduce their breast cancer risk by 64 percent as compared to sedentary women.
Scientists found 97 African-American breast cancer patients in the Washington, D.C. area and put them together with 102 other African-American women who were not diagnosed with the disease. Then, the participants filled out questionnaires about their exercise habits.
While you want to lower your breast cancer risk as much as possible, even moderate exercise was shown to have some benefit. The women who said they engaged in moderate exercise (walking) had a 17 percent reduced breast cancer risk.
“I was surprised that we did not find a significant effect in pre-menopausal women, but it may be because we need a larger sample,” said study researcher Vanessa Sheppard, PhD, an assistant professor of oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington DC.
African-American women of all age groups are at the highest risk of dying from breast cancer. It’s particularly high in women from 20 to 50, where, according to the Office Of Minority Health Resource Center, they are twice as likely to die from breast cancer than white women. That underscores the importance of early breast exams for African-American.