Exercise Can Help Reduce Breast Cancer

Medscape Staff

June 26, 2023

Exercise can suppress signaling within breast cancer cells, which can reduce tumor growth and even kill the cancerous cells, according to a team of Texas A&M researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

What to Know

  • During muscle contractions, the muscle releases some factors that kill, or at least decrease the growth, of neoplastic cells and in some cases may play a role in fighting breast cancer.

  • The factors inherently reside in muscle and are released into the bloodstream. Simple forms of muscle contraction, such as occur when going on a walk or getting up to dance, can release these factors to combat cancer.

  • It is believed that the risk of breast cancer is decreased with exercise because exercise slows the growth of abnormal cells and that precancerous cells can be destroyed by the body before they start to develop.

  • Regular exercise could disrupt communication in the cancerous cells so as to stop their growth, and the factors released by exercise may play a role in preventing the development of breast cancer in the first place.

  • Exercise is not 100% guaranteed to prevent cancer. Some people who work out regularly are still diagnosed with cancer, and there are many confounding factors that affect a person's risk of developing cancer, such as smoking, age, genetics, and comorbidities.

This is a summary of the article, "Myokines Derived From Contracting Skeletal Muscle Suppress Anabolism in MCF7 Breast Cancer Cells by Inhibiting mTOR," published in Frontiers In Physiology in October 2022. The full article can be found on frontiersin.org.

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