Active women who exercise regularly not only dramatically cut their chances of developing breast cancer but slash their odds of dying by nearly 40% if they do fall prey to the disease, research has found.
The research by the University of North Carolina discovered that women who incorporate light exercise into their lifestyle, boost their chances of surviving breast cancer if they were ever diagnosed with it.
The study, originally conducted in the late Nineties, assessed the exercise regimes of 1,508 women who were suffering from breast cancer.
Over the following five years, researchers tracked these women to see how many had died from the disease and how many survived. They found that those who engaged in regular exercise from puberty into their adult years, were 36% less likely to die from cancer than those who didn't exercise.
Researchers behind the study, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, believe that exercise helps build up the immune system which subsequently helps fight off cancerous cells.
“This study provides support that regular physical activity, prior to breast cancer diagnosis, improves survival,” says a researcher from the study.
In the UK, around 48,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and on average 12,000 die from the disease. British women have a one in nine chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.
In addition to regular exercise, a healthy diet has also been proven to help reduce cancer risk. See our round-up of the best cancer-fighting foods below.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a super strong antioxidant that helps keep stomach, prostate and lung cancer away.
Cabbages contain cancer-fighting indole-3-carbinol, which are said to help ward off cancer. Brocolli is a well-known cancer busting vegetable as its glucoraphanin enzyme protects the body from rectum and colon cancer.
Containing a rich source of antioxidant lycopene, they protect the body from various cancer cells, plus it's also packed with vitamin C, which helps strengthen the body's immune system.
Garlic isn't just a great way to flavor our food, but it's a clever way of incorporating a cancer-busting food into our diet. Garlic is proven to boost immunity, which helps our body fight against nasty cancerous cells. Chives, leeks and onions are also part of the allium vegetable group, which help reduce the risks of stomach, colon and prostate cancer.
Flax seeds contain a strong antioxidants called ligans which help keep cells healthy and safe from cancerous cells. They also contain Omega-3, which are believed to prevent colon cancer.
Rated as one fo the highest antioxidant foods, blueberries keep the body's cells healthy and full of oxygen, warding off cancerous cells attacking.