Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Exercise Helps Prevent Breast Cancer

Studies Show Exercise May Lower Risk and Help Those With Breast Cancer Cope

Family History of Breast Cancer

Most had no family history of breast cancer, including the women with breast cancer themselves. While family history increases breast cancer risk, most patients don't have a family history of the disease.

During the 40-minute phone interview, the women noted whether they had participated in the following activities at some point in their lives since age 14: jogging/running, bicycling, calisthenics/aerobics/dance, racquet sports, swimming, walking/hiking for exercise, or other strenuous individual or team activities.

Most women, whether or not they had breast cancer, reported getting up to three hours of weekly strenuous exercise at some point since age 14.

But 461 women without breast cancer, and 332 with breast cancer, said they had exercised strenuously for more than six hours weekly at some point since age 14 -- typically when they were in their teens and early 20s.

23% Less Likely

The women who reported getting more than six weekly hours of strenuous recreational physical activity were 23% less likely to have breast cancer, compared to sedentary women, the study shows.

Exercise appeared to benefit women, regardless of age.

But the benefits were only seen in those with no family history of breast cancer.

The results held after adjusting for other breast cancer risk factors.

The study doesn't prove that exercise single-handedly prevented breast cancer or show how exercise may lower breast cancer risk.

The effects of exercise on hormones and weight may help, the researchers suggest.

They note that they don't know if the women accurately recalled their workout habits.

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
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow