Vigorous exercise could greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer for postmenopausal African American women, a study finds.
The pilot study, presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research conference In Miami, Fla., may be good news for women as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off. Researchers asked 97 African American women who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and 102 matched women without breast cancer questions about their physical activity. Exercise such as aerobics and running was considered vigorous.
Women who did vigorous exercise for two or more hours per week in the past year had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer compared with sedentary women. Those who did moderate activities, such as walking, showed a 17% reduced risk of breast cancer compared with women who didn't exercise.
The benefits were seen mostly for postmenopausal women, who had a 62% decrease in cancer risk. The small study sample could be to blame for not seeing greater reduced risk in premenopausal women, the authors said.