Physical activity can reduce breast cancer mortality by about 40 percent, according to researchers Julia Hamer, HBSc, and Ellen Warner, MD, HBScdivision of medical oncology and hematology, Odette Cancer Center, Toronto. They defined physical activity as either a half hour of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week or 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise in conjunction with several weekly strength training sessions.

Hamer and Warner’s review of 67 articles also found:

  • Diets high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and chicken, as well as diets high in processed meats and grains and red meats had similar rates of breast cancer recurrence;
  • Quitting smoking after breast cancer diagnosis led to higher overall survival;
  • Drinking one or fewer alcohol-based beverages a day lowered the risk for a second primary breast cancer;
  • Dietary saturated fats, particularly those from high-fat dairy products, were associated with higher breast cancer mortality;
  • Increasing vitamin C consumption moderately, whether by diet or oral supplement, was associated with reduced breast cancer mortality.

Hamer and Warner wrote that a breast cancer diagnosis can sometimes serve as a stepping stone for patients to making other changes that will improve their well-being.

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