Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blah, blah, exercise more, blah, blah

Right up therer with common medical advice - eat right, stand up straight, floss - is get some exercise. When have they ever told us not to exercise? Exercise is good for all sorts of things - we know this. This is why we had gym class in school and were sent out side to play and went for walks all the time.

There are some downsides to exercise - blisters from badly fitting or the wrong shoes. Or, muscle aches and pains for the days when you might 'over do' things by a tiny bit. Or stretching injuries if you perchance are in the slightly wrong position and end up with a very painful knee (not that I would know this by experience or anything).

But there is another new benefit to exercise - reducing your breast cancer risk. Who would have thought? Duh. Exercise is known to be good for us. But, here's the real story:

"Moderate exercise tied to lower breast cancer risk 

...Women who exercise moderately may be less likely than their inactive peers to develop breast cancer after menopause, a study published Monday suggests.

And it did not take a vigorous workout; regular exercise at any intensity level was linked to a lower breast cancer risk, the researchers say.

Still, there are reasons to believe it can, said lead researcher Lauren McCullough, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

One possible way is indirectly, by reducing body fat, McCullough said in an interview. Excess body fat is related to higher levels of certain hormones, including estrogen, as well as substances known as growth factors, which can feed tumor development.

Researchers found that of more than 3,000 women with and without breast cancer, those who'd exercised during their childbearing years were less likely to develop the cancer after menopause.

The findings, reported in the journal Cancer, add to a number of past studies tying regular exercise to lower breast cancer odds.

But like those past studies, this latest one can only point to a correlation: It does not prove that exercise, itself, is what cut women's breast cancer risk.

But exercise might also have direct effects, McCullough said -- by boosting the immune system or the body's ability to clear cell-damaging "free radicals."

That is all speculation for now.

But, McCullough said, the findings do support the general health recommendation that adults stay active throughout their lives."


So what does this tell us? Speculation is telling the researchers that exercise can lower your breast cancer risk. So before you adopt a mighty exercise plan to reduce your risk of breast cancer, just remember that it is speculation that is driving this.

This also reminds that all these studies that tell us things like eating spinach is good for us - some is based on science and some is based on speculation because there appears to be a correlation. And it always needs more research to prove anything.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of this story is the "10 to 19 hours of exercise per week" that seemed to correlate with 30% reduced risk. That is 1.5 to 2.5 hours of exercise per day.

Frankly, I don't have the time because I'm too busy working, finding organic cruciferous vegetables, avoiding BPA and meditating for stress reduction (all things touted as reducing risk of recurrence). Except working.