Breast cancer survivors should exercise more
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IANS: Breast cancer survivors, who meet the exercise regimen
recommendations of 2.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week,
sufficiently lower their risk of mortality.
New research from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and reported in the International Journal of
Cancer suggests that exceeding the recommendations may provide greater
protection, and that running may be better than walking.
The study, by Berkeley Lab's Paul Williams of the lab's Life
followed 986 breast
cancer survivors as
part of the National Runners' and Walkers' Health Study.
At least 31 of the 714 walkers and 13 of the 272 runners died
from breast cancer over nine years.
When analyzed together, their risk for breast cancer mortality
decreased an average of 24 percent per metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per day
of exercise, where one MET hour equals a little less than a mile of brisk
walking or about two-third of a mile of running.
However, when the runners and walkers were looked at separately,
there was significantly less mortality in those who ran than walked.
The runners' risk for breast cancer mortality decreased over 40
percent per MET hour per day. Runners that averaged over two and a quarter miles
per day were at 95 percent lower risk for breast cancer mortality than those
that did not meet the current exercise recommendations. In contrast, the
walkers' risk for breast cancer mortality decreased a non-significant five
percent per MET hour per day.
Williams cautions, however, that this study does not disprove the
benefits of walking because the number of subjects was small compared to
previous research showing a benefit.
However, he does believe that the research shows that exceeding
the current exercise recommendations will be better than simply meeting them,
and that running may be better than walking.
"If I were a breast cancer survivor,
I would certainly consider running or some other vigorous exercise over walking,
and I wouldn't just be doing the minimum, with the consequences and potential
benefit being so great," he said.
Previous research from the national study showed that running was
more effective than walking for weight loss. For many health benefits, however,
running and walking appear to give the same benefits for the same amount of
These include lower risk for coronary heart disease,
diabetes, hip replacements, as well as brain cancer. Running and walking also
seem to be equally beneficial in the primary prevention of breast cancer.
Times of India )