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Approximately 40% of breast cancers among postmenopausal women may be prevented through lifestyle changes. These results were recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Approximately 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States alone. The majority of breast cancers are diagnosed among postmenopausal women; therefore, ways in which to reduce the risk of breast cancer is under evaluation.

Research has recently identified the association between diet, exercise, and other modifiable lifestyle choices and the risks of certain diseases, including specific types of cancer. As such, researchers continue to explore associations between these variables so that individuals can make choices to reduce their risk of cancer.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center recently conducted a study to further evaluate modifiable lifestyle choices and associations with breast cancer among postmenopausal women. The study included over 3,000 women with breast cancer.

  • The researchers concluded that hormone use, alcohol consumption, weight gain, and lack of physical activity attributed to approximately 40% of postmenopausal breast cancer.
  • Recent weight gain increased the risk by 21%, and lack of physical recreational activities increased the risk by 16%.

These data provide further evidence that diet, weight, and physical activity contribute significantly to the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.

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Reference: Sprague B, Trentham-Dietz, A, Egan K, et al. Proportion of invasive breast cancer attributable to risk factors modifiable after menopause. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2008;168:404-411.

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Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Increase Breast Cancer Risk (04/16/2008)

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