Gardening ‘can cut the risk of breast cancer’
GARDENING in mid-life can cut the risk of breast cancer by up to 13 per cent, research has shown.
The study – the largest in a decade – shows the lifestyle impact of diet, alcohol and exercise on the most common form of cancer in women. Exercise was found to have the strongest protective effect, while daily drinking was found to be doing the most harm.
Just one small glass of wine a day was enough to increase the risk of the disease by 9 per cent among post-menopausal women. It follows advice from the chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, who caused contention last year when she urged women to “do as I do” and think about the risks of breast cancer before deciding whether to have a glass of wine.
The research by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) examined all research worldwide on the impact of diet, weight and exercise on breast cancer. The charity said that more than 6,000 cases could be prevented annually if women took at least 30 minutes’ exercise daily.
Before the menopause, vigorous exercise such as running or fast cycling made the greatest difference. Those who did it regularly – meaning around 45 minutes a day – had a 17 per cent lower risk of breast cancer, compared to those who were least active. After menopause the impact of such exertions dropped to 10 per cent.
By this stage, turning to moderate activity – such as gardening and walking – had a greater effect, cutting the risk of breast cancer by 13 per cent, the study found. And 12,000 cases of breast cancer could be avoided if women drunk no alcohol at all, the charity said.
Breast cancer is diagnosed in more than 50,000 women a year. The charity said more than 20,000 cases could be prevented annually if women were teetotal, active and kept a healthy weight. Dr Rachel Thompson, WCRF’s head of research interpretation, said: “Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise are important for preventing breast cancer.”
A simple blood test could reveal whether your risk of cancer is up to 18 times higher, scientists have discovered. Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School said over 5,000 cancer cases a year could be diagnosed months earlier if GPs carried out checks to spot raised blood platelet counts.
The Daily Telegraph
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