A study published a while back in Archives of Internal Medicine presented evidence that women who exercise regularly may have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, especially the most aggressive types. Data collected from over 36,000 women from the Iowa Women’s Health Study over an 18 year period showed that women who were the most active had a 14% less chance of developing breast cancer. And their chance of developing estrogen only receptor postitive (no progesterone receptors) cancer went down 33%.
If that’s not reason enough to exercise regularly a different study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that women who have breast cancer and are obese (or less well educated) are less likely to get an optimal dose of chemotherapy. It was found that 21% of the women who were obese only got 85% or less of the regular dose of chemotherapy based on their weight. Also women who did not graduate from high school also got a lower dose than they should have.
The same issue also reports that women who choose their breast cancer surgeon themselves tend to pick more experienced surgeons than women whose doctor is picked by another doctor or by their health insurance. In general patients who have doctors with more experience tend to do better.
More recently in the New England Journal of Medicine some Canadian researchers discovered that women who have more dense breasts – and more difficult to get accurate mammograms from – had a greater chance of getting cancer. And a more aggressive type of cancer yet. There is not yet a way to test how dense a person’s breasts are.
Tamoxifen is a drug used to fight estrogen receptor postitive breast cancers. The journal Cancer reports that many women stop taking it before the recommended 5 years are over. Apparently 22% stopped before one year, 28% by two years and 35% by three and a half years. The women who were most likely to stop taking it were the youngest and oldest in the group.
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