Generally, cancer begins when cells start to grow out of control in almost any part of the body and breast cancer as might be expected is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the breast. This unwanted cells can spread to other areas of the body. The disease occurs nearly entirely in women, but men can get it, too. The disease though deadly can be prevented from occurring in women and this is where the study by Alberta Health Services in Canada that is published in JAMA Oncology comes in.

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There have been several ways earlier suggested on how to prevent the disease – one of such ways is a physical activity for at least 150 minutes every week which is 21 minutes a day.

However, the Canada health institution has added to the list. In the study published in JAMA Oncology, Alberta Health services examined 400 women for a year and discovered that older women or post-menopausal women who work out twice as much were remarkably better at reducing fat levels connected to causing breast cancer later in life.

According to the new research, any aerobic exercise (exercise that needs pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles) that increases the heart rate 65 to 75% was permitted, and most of the supervised and home-based activities involved the elliptical trainer, walking, cycling and running.


It discovered that average reductions in total body fat were larger in the 300-minute group compared to the 150-minute group by one kg or one percent body fat. Subcutaneous abdominal fat, as well as total abdominal fat, BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio also decreased more in the 300-minute group.

Some of the effects were stronger for obese women with a BMI greater than 30 for change in weight, BMI, waist and hip circumference, and subcutaneous abdominal fat, according to the results.

Though older women are getting to the age at which it is tempting to reduce workout rate a bit, they are rather required to do more exercise than others to stay healthy.

Scientists suggest that women who are 50 and above should do five hours of exercise a week – twice the government guideline – to prevent breast cancer.

Most cases of breast cancer occur in women who have reached menopause, this is because it has been discovered that after the menopause, fat cells are specifically a great food source for the hormones that feed the cancer cells. So, by burning fat in order to starve cancer cells, more exercise is required to cut a woman’s odds of developing the disease.

Therefore older women who exercise for 45 minutes every day – 300 minutes a week burn off more fat and dwindle their risk of breast cancer.

Emphasizing the need for older women to take into consideration the findings of this research, Researcher Dr Christine Friedenreich, said there is a probable association between physical activity and post-menopausal breast cancer risk and that this has been supported by more than 100 studies.

He added that their findings of a dose-response effect of exercise on total fat mass and several other adiposity measures including abdominal fat, especially in obese women, provide a basis for encouraging postmenopausal women to exercise at least 300 minutes/week, longer than the minimum recommended for cancer prevention.

Another researcher, Dr Kerri Winters-Stone, of Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, also said that continued investigation has shown that the biological underpinnings of the relationship between exercise and disease is a pointer to the need to prescribe exercise as a preventive medicine.

Alongside these efforts must come the need to become and stay physically active and fit.

Older women are now advised to avoid cancer risk by working more than the general recommendation.

Another study has in addition to staying physically fit advised older women to stay off post-menopausal hormones as they have a mixed effect on health, increasing the risk of some diseases. According to the study, estrogen-only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer in women.

So if you must take post-menopausal hormones, it should be for the shortest time possible.

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