Posted 2 years ago

Exercise: The Best Medicine for Breast Health

Exercise is medicine.  Not only can it be an effective tool to ward off illness, but it will also decrease your risk of developing breast cancer and for those who have had breast cancer, lower the risk of breast cancer recurrence?

National Breast Cancer Awareness month is here again, and it serves as a good reminder to every woman to take inventory on what she is doing to promote breast health.   Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women, 1 out of 8 women in their lifetime will develop breast cancer.  In the year 2022, it is estimated that over 280,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Many women believe that they are not at risk for breast cancer if they do not have a family history.  They are often surprised to learn that most women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history or genetic marker for breast cancer and that most breast cancers are related to lifestyle and environmental factors, with a sedentary lifestyle being major risk factor.

Getting regular exercise can be a real game changer for women in their quest to lower their breast cancer risk.  Studies have found that women who exercise regularly have a 10-20% lower risk of developing breast cancer, and for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, regular exercise can lower their risk of dying from the disease by up to a whopping 40%!   If we could package this benefit in a pill, every woman would be taking it.

Unfortunately, many women who are sedentary, find it difficult to start an exercise program. Exercise is frequently thought of as an activity that needs to be done in a gym and this scares people off.   There are many more ways that a person can get regular exercise, going for a walk or hike, taking the stairs at work, going dancing, doing a home

It is never too late to start exercising to change the course of your health.  Exercise can be fun if you explore the many different options out there.  If you are not a person who has exercised before, start slowly with 5 or 10 minutes a day, and gradually build up over time.  If you are pressed for time, divide up your exercise time throughout the day, it does not need to be done in one session, to get the benefit.    It is time to get moving!

About Heidi Rula, M.D.

Medical Director Of The Supportive Care Services Department

Heidi RulaDr. Heidi Rula Joined Ironwood In 2018 To Launch The  Integrative Oncology Program. She Is Board Certified In Family Medicine And Fellowship-Trained In Integrative Medicine. Dr. Rula Has Been A Practicing Physician In The Phoenix Area For Approximately 20 Years And Has Been Recognized By Her Colleagues As One Of Phoenix’s “Top Doctors” On Multiple Occasions.

Dr. Rula has played a key role in bringing integrative medicine to the Valley. She served as the medical director of the University of Arizona Integrative Health Center, where she leads a team of physicians and complementary practitioners in a unique model of integrative primary care that she helped to develop along with Dr. Weil and the UA Center for Integrative Medicine.