Active women have a lower risk of breast cancer

Monday, October 15, 2001

WASHINGTON -- Women who are active on the job or doing housework have a lower risk of breast cancer, research-ers say.

The busiest women had 31 percent less risk than those who did the least, their study found.

But although the women did have to stay active, they didn't have to work hard, said Christine M. Friedenreich, a research scientist at the Alberta Cancer Board in Calgary. "Moderate activity was related to the greatest risk reduction," she said.

Friedenreich and her colleagues looked at data on breast cancer cases in the province of Alberta from 1995 to 1997. In Canada's health care system, all cancer cases have to be reported to government agencies.

Their study looked at 1,233 women with breast cancer and 1,237 women who were healthy and who served as a comparison group. The researchers found the healthy study participants by doing telephone solicitations.

"The take-home message is that it's important to be physically active in all aspects of your life," Friedenreich said. A brisk walk of 30 to 40 minutes on most days of the week is "probably the level that people should be trying to achieve."

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