4Hrs/Week Walk Can Reduce Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk

By on August 11, 2014

According to a new study postmenopausal women who had undergone regular physical activity, which is equivalent to at least 4 hrs of walking per week in the past 4 years is at lower risk to invasive breast cancer when compared to women who in the past 4 years exercised for lesser amount of time.

This study was published by American Association for Cancer Research’s journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Agnès Fournier, PhD, a researcher in the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at the Institute Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France said that 12 MET-h (metabolic equivalent task-hours) per week is equivalent to 4 hrs of walking or cycling per week, or 2 hrs of other sports per week.

Breast Cancer Risk - WalkingThis is even consistent with recommendations of World Cancer Research Fund, which are at least 30 minutes of walking daily. Agnès Fournier also said that according to their study that it is not necessary to do vigorous or frequent activities, just walking for 30 minutes in a day is beneficial.

Postmenopausal women who have undergone at least 12 MET-h of physical activity in the past 4 yrs are at decreased invasive breast cancer risk by 10% when compared to women who were less activity during these 4 years.

And in women who were physically active between 5 to 9 yrs, but were not active during past 4 yrs prior to the final data collection, there was no decrease of invasive breast cancer risk was observed.

Agnès Fournier said that risk of breast cancer in women after menopause can be reduced with physical activity. However, it is unclear about how this association is observed once a woman start physical activity, or how long the association lasts once the regular physical activity or exercise is stopped.

Agnès Fournier added that this study helps in answering these questions. According to this study undergoing physical activity, whatever may be the intensity, it shows rapid impact on breast cancer risk. And, this impact stops once the physical activity is stopped.

Therefore, encouragement should be given to women who do physical activity to continue undergoing physical activity, and for women who are exercising should be encouraged to start doing physical activity as it helps in reducing the invasive breast cancer risk.


For this study, Agnès Fournier and colleagues analyzed the data collected from biennial questionnaires asked to 59,308 postmenopausal women, who were enrolled in E3N. E3N is a European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study’s French component.

Mean duration of this study was 8.5 years and first primary invasive breast cancer was found in 2,155 women during this period.

Total amount of physical activity, which was self-reported, was calculated in MET-h per week. Decrease of invasive breast can was observed by undergoing at least 12 MET-h of recreational physical activity irrespective of BMI, weight gain, waistline, and level of activity between 5 to 9 yrs earlier.

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