WEDNESDAY, Nov. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) — At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with lower all-cause mortality among postmenopausal breast cancer patients, regardless of their levels of physical activity before diagnosis, according to a study published online Nov. 7 in Breast Cancer Research.

Audrey Y. Jung, Ph.D., from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and colleagues used data from 3,813 postmenopausal breast cancer patients (aged 50 to 74 at diagnosis), who were recruited from 2002 to 2005 and followed until June 2015. Prediagnosis to postdiagnosis leisure-time physical activity and breast cancer prognosis were evaluated. Patients were considered insufficiently active if they engaged in <150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.

After a median 6 years of follow-up, there were 206 deaths including 114 from breast cancer. The researchers found that increasingly active women had a lower risk for overall mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.50; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.31 to 0.82), breast cancer mortality (HR, 0.54; 95 percent CI, 0.30 to 1.00), and recurrence-free survival (RFS; HR, 0.58; 95 percent CI, 0.40 to 0.84) compared with insufficiently active women. In sufficiently active women, associations were similar to increasingly active women: overall mortality (HR, 0.75; 95 percent CI, 0.48 to 1.15), breast cancer mortality (HR, 0.61; 95 percent CI, 0.33 to 1.13), and RFS (HR, 0.80; 95 percent CI, 0.57 to 1.14). For decreasingly active women, risk was not lower: overall mortality (HR, 0.91; 95 percent CI, 0.61 to 1.36), breast cancer mortality (HR, 0.80; 95 percent CI, 0.45 to 1.42), and RFS (HR, 1.04; 95 percent CI, 0.76 to 1.43).

“The results of our study suggest that there are merits to leisure-time physical activity in breast cancer patients, and that its associated benefits are not only limited to women who are physically active before and after diagnosis,” Jung said in a statement.

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