Exercise protects against aggressive breast cancer in black women

A nearly 20-year observational study involving more than 44,700 black women nationwide found that regular vigorous exercise offers significant protection against development of an aggressive subtype of breast cancer. The findings from the Black Women's Health Study are being presented at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The research team, co-led by scientists at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and Boston University, found that black women who engaged in brisk exercise for a lifetime average of three or more hours a week had a 47 percent reduced risk of developing estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) compared with those exercising an average of one hour per week, according to a preliminary analysis. The results will be updated at the meeting.

This form of breast cancer, which includes HER2-positive and triple negative tumors, is linked to both higher incidence and mortality in black women, relative to white women. ER- tumors do not respond to hormone therapies used to treat tumors that have the estrogen receptor.

"These findings are very encouraging. Knowing that exercise may protect against breast cancers that disproportionately strike black women is of great public health importance," says Lucile Adams-Campbell, PhD, professor of oncology and associate director of Minority Health & Health Disparities Research at Georgetown Lombardi.

"We all want to do what we can to reduce our risk of disease and improve our , and along with other well known benefits, we now show that exercise can possibly stave off development of potentially lethal breast cancer in ," she says.

Exercise, at any level, appeared to have no effect on development of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) in these women, the researchers say. They cannot offer a reason why because their study was not designed to answer this question. They also cannot speculate on whether vigorous in white women would have any effect.

The 44,704 women who participated in the study were 30 years or age or older.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility

5 hours ago

Cancer cells are gluttons. We have long known that they monopolize large amounts of sugar. More recently, it became clear that some tumor cells are also characterized by a series of features such as mobility or unlikeliness ...

Early hormone therapy may be safe for women's hearts

14 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Healthy women at low risk of cardiovascular disease may be able to take hormone replacement therapy soon after menopause for a short time without harming their hearts, according to a new study.

Low yield for repeat colonoscopy in some patients

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Repeat colonoscopies within 10 years are of little benefit to patients who had no polyps found on adequate examination; however, repeat colonoscopies do benefit patients when the baseline examination was compromised, ...

User comments