Washington (ANI) - Researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that vigorous exercise for more than two hours per week reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women by 64 percent.
In this study, more than two hours of aerobics, running or similar activity over the span of a week counted as vigorous activity.
"We also know from other studies that being physically active can have benefits in other diseases that occur at high rates in African-American women, such as diabetes and hypertension," said Vanessa Sheppard, a cancer control scientist and assistant professor in the department of oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Women who engaged in moderate exercise, like walking, had a 17 percent reduced risk, compared to women who were sedentary.
After evaluating those who were pre- and postmenopausal, they found that vigorous exercise only significantly benefited postmenopausal women - they had a 62 percent reduction in risk.
However, when the researchers examined the effect of total physical activity, which combined walking with vigorous activity of two or more hours per week, they saw significant gains for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
"This is a pilot study and a larger, more rigorous study is needed to precisely quantify the effect of exercise on development of breast cancer. I think it is fair to conclude that if African American women exercise they can help take charge of their health," said Sheppard.
Results were presented at the Third AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, held Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2010.