Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Exercise Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

Moderate Activity Level Cuts Risk of Aggressive Cancer Type by a Third in Older Women

The Impact of Estrogen

Obesity is a source of estrogen in postmenopausal women, and estrogen also drives the development of estrogen-receptor-sensitive tumors.

Since the impact of exercise was strongly linked to body weight for ER+/PR+ tumors, but not for ER+/PR- tumors, the researchers suggest that some other mechanism may be involved in the development of tumors.

"This finding argues against estrogen being the major player for this tumor subtype," Cerhan says.

But from a public health standpoint, the message is the same.

Postmenopausal women can lower their overall breast cancer risk by engaging in regular exercise, says breast cancer researcher Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, of Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

McTiernan wrote the book Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer.

"Lack of exercise and obesity are thought to account for about a quarter of breast cancer cases," she tells WebMD.

"It is clear that women are not as physically active as they should be. We have an epidemic of obesity," she points out.

"Exercising and avoiding weight gain are two important things that women can do to lower their risk," says McTiernan.

 

1|2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
 
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
 
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
VIDEO
Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman getting mammogram
Article
Screening Tests for Women
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
serious woman
Article
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow
SLIDESHOW