Logo of brjcancerBJC HomepageBJC Advance online publicationBJC Current IssueSubmitting an article to BJCWeb feeds
Br J Cancer. Aug 1999; 80(11): 1852–1858.
PMCID: PMC2374273

Lifetime exercise activity and breast cancer risk among post-menopausal women

Abstract

Lifetime exercise activity has been linked to breast cancer risk among young women. However, no study has specifically evaluated whether lifetime exercise activity is related to the breast cancer risk of post-menopausal women. We conducted a population-based case-control study of post-menopausal white women (1123 newly diagnosed cases and 904 healthy controls) aged 55–64 who lived in Los Angeles County, California, USA to evaluate this relationship. Although neither exercise activity from menarche to age 40 years, nor exercise after age 40 separately predicted breast cancer risk, risk was lower among women who had exercised each week for at least 17.6 MET-hours (metabolic equivalent of energy expenditure multiplied by hours of activity) since menarche than among inactive women (odds ratio (OR) = 0.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37–0.83). Exercise activity was not protective for women who gained considerable (> 17%) weight during adulthood. However, among women with more stable weight, breast cancer risk was substantially reduced for those who consistently exercised at high levels throughout their lifetime (OR = 0.42; 95% CI 0.24–0.75), those who exercised more than 4 h per week for at least 12 years (OR = 0.59; 95% CI 0.40–0.88), and those who exercised vigorously (24.5 MET-hours per week) during the most recent 10 years (OR = 0.52; 95% CI 0.32–0.85). Strenuous exercise appears to reduce breast cancer risk among post-menopausal women who do not gain sizable amounts of weight during adulthood. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign

Keywords: breast neoplasms, exercise, weight gain, post-menopausal women

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (95K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Leon AS, Jacobs DR, Jr, Montoye HJ, Sallis JF, Paffenbarger RS., Jr Compendium of physical activities: classification of energy costs of human physical activities. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993 Jan;25(1):71–80. [PubMed]
  • Albanes D, Blair A, Taylor PR. Physical activity and risk of cancer in the NHANES I population. Am J Public Health. 1989 Jun;79(6):744–750. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Apter D, Reinilä M, Vihko R. Some endocrine characteristics of early menarche, a risk factor for breast cancer, are preserved into adulthood. Int J Cancer. 1989 Nov 15;44(5):783–787. [PubMed]
  • Ballard-Barbash R, Schatzkin A, Taylor PR, Kahle LL. Association of change in body mass with breast cancer. Cancer Res. 1990 Apr 1;50(7):2152–2155. [PubMed]
  • Barnes-Josiah D, Potter JD, Sellers TA, Himes JH. Early body size and subsequent weight gain as predictors of breast cancer incidence (Iowa, United States). Cancer Causes Control. 1995 Mar;6(2):112–118. [PubMed]
  • Bernstein L, Ross RK, Lobo RA, Hanisch R, Krailo MD, Henderson BE. The effects of moderate physical activity on menstrual cycle patterns in adolescence: implications for breast cancer prevention. Br J Cancer. 1987 Jun;55(6):681–685. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bernstein L, Ross RK, Henderson BE. Prospects for the primary prevention of breast cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 1992 Jan 15;135(2):142–152. [PubMed]
  • Bernstein L, Henderson BE, Hanisch R, Sullivan-Halley J, Ross RK. Physical exercise and reduced risk of breast cancer in young women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1994 Sep 21;86(18):1403–1408. [PubMed]
  • Brinton LA, Swanson CA. Height and weight at various ages and risk of breast cancer. Ann Epidemiol. 1992 Sep;2(5):597–609. [PubMed]
  • Broocks A, Pirke KM, Schweiger U, Tuschl RJ, Laessle RG, Strowitzki T, Hörl E, Hörl T, Haas W, Jeschke D. Cyclic ovarian function in recreational athletes. J Appl Physiol (1985) 1990 May;68(5):2083–2086. [PubMed]
  • Cauley JA, Gutai JP, Kuller LH, LeDonne D, Powell JG. The epidemiology of serum sex hormones in postmenopausal women. Am J Epidemiol. 1989 Jun;129(6):1120–1131. [PubMed]
  • Chen CL, White E, Malone KE, Daling JR. Leisure-time physical activity in relation to breast cancer among young women (Washington, United States). Cancer Causes Control. 1997 Jan;8(1):77–84. [PubMed]
  • Coogan PF, Newcomb PA, Clapp RW, Trentham-Dietz A, Baron JA, Longnecker MP. Physical activity in usual occupation and risk of breast cancer (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 1997 Jul;8(4):626–631. [PubMed]
  • D'Avanzo B, Nanni O, La Vecchia C, Franceschi S, Negri E, Giacosa A, Conti E, Montella M, Talamini R, Decarli A. Physical activity and breast cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996 Mar;5(3):155–160. [PubMed]
  • Dorgan JF, Brown C, Barrett M, Splansky GL, Kreger BE, D'Agostino RB, Albanes D, Schatzkin A. Physical activity and risk of breast cancer in the Framingham Heart Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1994 Apr 1;139(7):662–669. [PubMed]
  • Dosemeci M, Hayes RB, Vetter R, Hoover RN, Tucker M, Engin K, Unsal M, Blair A. Occupational physical activity, socioeconomic status, and risks of 15 cancer sites in Turkey. Cancer Causes Control. 1993 Jul;4(4):313–321. [PubMed]
  • Frisch RE, Wyshak G, Vincent L. Delayed menarche and amenorrhea in ballet dancers. N Engl J Med. 1980 Jul 3;303(1):17–19. [PubMed]
  • Frisch RE, Gotz-Welbergen AV, McArthur JW, Albright T, Witschi J, Bullen B, Birnholz J, Reed RB, Hermann H. Delayed menarche and amenorrhea of college athletes in relation to age of onset of training. JAMA. 1981 Oct 2;246(14):1559–1563. [PubMed]
  • Frisch RE, Wyshak G, Albright NL, Albright TE, Schiff I, Jones KP, Witschi J, Shiang E, Koff E, Marguglio M. Lower prevalence of breast cancer and cancers of the reproductive system among former college athletes compared to non-athletes. Br J Cancer. 1985 Dec;52(6):885–891. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gammon MD, Schoenberg JB, Britton JA, Kelsey JL, Coates RJ, Brogan D, Potischman N, Swanson CA, Daling JR, Stanford JL, et al. Recreational physical activity and breast cancer risk among women under age 45 years. Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Feb 1;147(3):273–280. [PubMed]
  • Huang Z, Hankinson SE, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Hunter DJ, Manson JE, Hennekens CH, Rosner B, Speizer FE, Willett WC. Dual effects of weight and weight gain on breast cancer risk. JAMA. 1997 Nov 5;278(17):1407–1411. [PubMed]
  • Hunter DJ, Willett WC. Diet, body size, and breast cancer. Epidemiol Rev. 1993;15(1):110–132. [PubMed]
  • Kelsey JL, Gammon MD, John EM. Reproductive factors and breast cancer. Epidemiol Rev. 1993;15(1):36–47. [PubMed]
  • Key TJ, Pike MC. The role of oestrogens and progestagens in the epidemiology and prevention of breast cancer. Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol. 1988 Jan;24(1):29–43. [PubMed]
  • Kirschner MA, Ertel N, Schneider G. Obesity, hormones, and cancer. Cancer Res. 1981 Sep;41(9 Pt 2):3711–3717. [PubMed]
  • MacDonald PC, Edman CD, Hemsell DL, Porter JC, Siiteri PK. Effect of obesity on conversion of plasma androstenedione to estrone in postmenopausal women with and without endometrial cancer. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1978 Feb 15;130(4):448–455. [PubMed]
  • McTiernan A, Stanford JL, Weiss NS, Daling JR, Voigt LF. Occurrence of breast cancer in relation to recreational exercise in women age 50-64 years. Epidemiology. 1996 Nov;7(6):598–604. [PubMed]
  • Mezzetti M, La Vecchia C, Decarli A, Boyle P, Talamini R, Franceschi S. Population attributable risk for breast cancer: diet, nutrition, and physical exercise. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998 Mar 4;90(5):389–394. [PubMed]
  • Mittendorf R, Longnecker MP, Newcomb PA, Dietz AT, Greenberg ER, Bogdan GF, Clapp RW, Willett WC. Strenuous physical activity in young adulthood and risk of breast cancer (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 1995 Jul;6(4):347–353. [PubMed]
  • Nelson ME, Meredith CN, Dawson-Hughes B, Evans WJ. Hormone and bone mineral status in endurance-trained and sedentary postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 May;66(5):927–933. [PubMed]
  • Potischman N, Swanson CA, Siiteri P, Hoover RN. Reversal of relation between body mass and endogenous estrogen concentrations with menopausal status. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1996 Jun 5;88(11):756–758. [PubMed]
  • Rockhill B, Willett WC, Hunter DJ, Manson JE, Hankinson SE, Spiegelman D, Colditz GA. Physical activity and breast cancer risk in a cohort of young women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998 Aug 5;90(15):1155–1160. [PubMed]
  • Russell JB, Mitchell D, Musey PI, Collins DC. The relationship of exercise to anovulatory cycles in female athletes: hormonal and physical characteristics. Obstet Gynecol. 1984 Apr;63(4):452–456. [PubMed]
  • Thomas HV, Key TJ, Allen DS, Moore JW, Dowsett M, Fentiman IS, Wang DY. Re: Reversal of relation between body mass and endogenous estrogen concentrations with menopausal status. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1997 Mar 5;89(5):396–398. [PubMed]
  • Thune I, Brenn T, Lund E, Gaard M. Physical activity and the risk of breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 1997 May 1;336(18):1269–1275. [PubMed]
  • Vihko R, Apter D. Endocrine characteristics of adolescent menstrual cycles: impact of early menarche. J Steroid Biochem. 1984 Jan;20(1):231–236. [PubMed]
  • Vihko VJ, Apter DL, Pukkala EI, Oinonen MT, Hakulinen TR, Vihko RK. Risk of breast cancer among female teachers of physical education and languages. Acta Oncol. 1992;31(2):201–204. [PubMed]
  • Williamson DF, Madans J, Anda RF, Kleinman JC, Kahn HS, Byers T. Recreational physical activity and ten-year weight change in a US national cohort. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 May;17(5):279–286. [PubMed]
  • Ziegler RG, Hoover RN, Nomura AM, West DW, Wu AH, Pike MC, Lake AJ, Horn-Ross PL, Kolonel LN, Siiteri PK, et al. Relative weight, weight change, height, and breast cancer risk in Asian-American women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1996 May 15;88(10):650–660. [PubMed]

Articles from British Journal of Cancer are provided here courtesy of Cancer Research UK

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...