October In Focus – Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer is the most common caner in women, with more than 13,500 cases diagnosed in Australia each year. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85.

Exercise and breast cancer

Most of the studies on exercise and cancer to date have focused on women with breast cancer, with the evidence supporting the following exercise recommendations.

Moderate intensity exercise is recommended.

Accumulating at least 30 minutes on at least three days each week can lead to benefits.

Aerobic and supervised resistance (weights training) are safe and beneficial. 

Depending on your fitness level, many short sessions may be needed to accumulate at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. It is important to  build up gradually, and then aim to maintain at least 30 minutes of exercise on five days each week.

Survivors of breast cancer still need to overcome all the usual exercise barriers experienced by women with breast cancer (e.g. affordability, time constraints, lack of interest or motivation), but there are some common concerns related to the breast cancer experience. This can include fatigue, lymphoedema, and discomfort.

It is important to speak with appropriate health professionals regarding your individual needs, including accredited exercise physiologists who can design a suitable exercise program. Your GP or treating specialist can assist you to make a start.  

For further information and a list of recommended activities download the EIM Breast cancer and exercise Fact Sheet can be found at this website.


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