RSSA healthy lifestyle reduces breast cancer risk

Posted on Wed, 16 Sep 09

A healthy lifestyle reduces breast cancer risk

Lifestyle change may significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors, a major concern in these women.  It has been found that obese women have a 50% increased risk for developing a secondary primary breast cancer, while those who consumed 7 or more alcoholic drinks per week had a 90% increased risk and smokers had a 120% increased risk of cancer reoccurrence (1).

Breast cancer can be prevented

While these associations do not directly demonstrate that drinking less, quitting smoking and losing excess weight reduce breast cancer risk this study adds convincing data to a growing body of evidence linking these modifiable lifestyle factors to primary breast cancer development and the cancer reoccurrence in breast cancer survivors (2).

Reducing breast cancer risk

Positive lifestyle behaviours have previously been shown to reduce breast cancer risk; for example brisk walking for 30 minutes daily (with no additional benefit from higher amounts of activity), and weight loss have been shown to significantly reduce breast cancer related death (3). There is also good evidence to suggest a Mediterranean style dietary pattern rich in foods such as fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts and seeds may offer protection from cancer development (4,5). The evidence for weight loss is also very compelling with obesity having been estimated to cause at least 20% of all postmenopausal breast cancers (6).



1. Li CI, Daling JR, Porter PL, Tang MT, Malone KE. Relationship Between Potentially Modifiable Lifestyle Factors and Risk of Second Primary Contralateral Breast Cancer Among Women Diagnosed With Estrogen Receptor-Positive Invasive Breast Cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Sep 8. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Ligibel JA. Could Modification of Lifestyle Factors Prevent Second Primary Breast Cancers? J Clin Oncol. 2009 Sep 8. [Epub ahead of print]

3. Pasanisi P, Villarini A, Bruno E, Raimondi M, Gargano G, Berrino F. Breast clinic and life style study BLLISS. Support Care Cancer. 2009 Jul 22. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Berrino F, Bellati C, Secreto G et al (2001) Reducing bioavailable sex hormones through a comprehensive change in diet: the diet and androgens (DIANA) randomized trial. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 10:25–33

5. Kaaks R, Bellati C, Venturelli E et al (2003) Effects of dietary intervention on IGF-I and IGF-binding proteins, and related alterations in sex steroid metabolism: the Diet and Androgens (DIANA) Randomised Trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 57:1079–1088.

6. Reeves GK, Pirie K, Beral V, Green J, Spencer E, Bull D. Cancer incidence and mortality in relation to body mass index in the Million Women Study: cohort study. BMJ. 2007;335:1134. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39367.495995.AE.

Tags: Wellness, Lifestyle, Diet, Exercise, Smoking, Obesity, Alcohol, Breast Cancer

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