Health: Breast cancer survivors should run more
Washington, 02 February 2014: New research suggests that running may be more effective than walking in lowering breast cancer mortality risk.
Earlier studies have shown that following the current exercise recommendations of 2.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week lowered the risk of dying from breast cancer by about 25 percent.
However, the latest study published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that exceeding the recommendations may provide greater protection, and that running may be better than walking for breast cancer survivors.
The research lead by Paul Williams, Life Sciences Division, US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), studied 986 breast cancer survivors as part of the National Runners' and Walkers' Health Study.
Thirty-three of the 714 walkers and 13 of the 272 runners died from breast cancer over 9 years.
When analysed together, their risk for breast cancer mortality decreased an average of 24 percent per metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per day of exercise, where one MET hour equals a little less than a mile of brisk walking or about two-thirds of a mile of running.
When the runners and walkers were looked at separately, there was significantly less mortality in those who ran than walked.
The runners' risk for breast cancer mortality decreased over 40 percent per MET hour per day.
Runners that averaged over 2 and a quarter miles per day were at 95 percent lower risk for breast cancer mortality than those that did not meet the current exercise recommendations.
In contrast, the walkers' risk for breast cancer mortality decreased a non-significant 5 percent per MET hour per day.
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