Exercise Away Diabetic Breast Cancer

Diabetic women may cut breast cancer risk through moderate intensity physical activity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Some studies have linked diabetes to an increased risk of breast cancer. It is also known that exercise is key to preventing and managing diabetes. So, can exercise also lower the risk of breast cancer in diabetic women?

The more that women with diabetes exercised, the more their risk of breast cancer decreased, according to recent findings.

"Stay active to protect against complications of diabetes."

Gabriela Torres-Mejía, PhD, of Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, and colleagues set out to study how moderate-intensity physical activity could impact the risk of breast cancer associated with diabetes in a population of Mexican women.

The researchers found that the link between diabetes and breast cancer decreased as women exercised more.

Specifically, women who did the least moderate-intensity exercise had 4.9 times the odds of developing breast cancer than those who did the most exercise.

Women who did a middle amount of exercise 3.0 times the odds of developing breast cancer than those who did the most exercise.

Breast cancer risk was also higher in premenopausal women (before menstruation stops) with the highest C-peptide and IGF-1 levels.

C-peptide is a measure of insulin levels. People with type 2 diabetes often have high C-peptide levels. IGF-1 has been shown to play a role in both diabetes and cancer.

The authors concluded that moderate-intensity physical activity can significantly ease the increased breast cancer risk in diabetic women.

The study included 2,074 pre- and post-menopausal Mexican women.

The research was published October 1 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association. 

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Review Date: 
October 4, 2012
Last Updated:
October 8, 2012