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Can I outwalk breast cancer?

August 01, 2020

Ask the doctors

f59564df-aa2e-4abd-b5f1-7a2bc04d0ff1Q. I've heard that walking could reduce my risk of breast cancer. Is this true?

A. Yes, it's true. Walking is not only a great form of exercise to help keep your heart healthy, it could potentially reduce your risk of breast cancer. One 2013 study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that women who walked seven hours a week — an hour a day on average — had a 14% lower chance of getting breast cancer when compared with women who walked three hours a week or less. The benefit was seen even in women who were at higher risk for breast cancer, including those who were overweight or who were taking hormone therapy. It's not clear how walking helps, but experts speculate that physical activity might help keep the body's levels of estrogen and insulin in check. Both of these hormones can fuel breast cancer, so regulating them more effectively could reduce your risk.

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