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The effect of physical activity on sex hormones levels in women. Implications for the risk of breast cancer

Kinga Słojewska1
DOI: 10.5603/NJO.a2021.0067
Affiliations
  1. Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Environmental Health, Doctoral School of Medical and Health Sciences, Jagiellonian University Collegium Medicum, Krakow, Poland

open access

Ahead of print
Review article
Published online: 2021-10-29

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed neoplastic disease in women, which leads to a significant deterioration in the quality of life and a reduction in the ability of women to function normally in everyday life. The main risk factor for breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women is exposure to high levels of endogenous estrogen. It takes many years for neoplasia to develop, but lowering estrogen levels has been observed to reduce the risk of both a new diagnosis and recurrence of breast cancer. Observational studies have found that exercise reduces the level of bioavailable sex hormones, and thus may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. The currently available evidence clearly shows that adequate levels of physical activity are associated with a 25–30% reduction in the average risk of breast cancer in women and play a role in its treatment.

This review summarizes the data available in the literature on the effect of physical activity on the level of sex hormones in women and presents the biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between physical activity and the development of breast cancer. This issue requires further research, but already now, extensive educational campaigns are needed aimed at young women and informing about the possibility of significantly reducing the risk of breast cancer by introducing physical activity into everyday life.

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed neoplastic disease in women, which leads to a significant deterioration in the quality of life and a reduction in the ability of women to function normally in everyday life. The main risk factor for breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women is exposure to high levels of endogenous estrogen. It takes many years for neoplasia to develop, but lowering estrogen levels has been observed to reduce the risk of both a new diagnosis and recurrence of breast cancer. Observational studies have found that exercise reduces the level of bioavailable sex hormones, and thus may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. The currently available evidence clearly shows that adequate levels of physical activity are associated with a 25–30% reduction in the average risk of breast cancer in women and play a role in its treatment.

This review summarizes the data available in the literature on the effect of physical activity on the level of sex hormones in women and presents the biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between physical activity and the development of breast cancer. This issue requires further research, but already now, extensive educational campaigns are needed aimed at young women and informing about the possibility of significantly reducing the risk of breast cancer by introducing physical activity into everyday life.

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Keywords

exercise; gonadal steroid hormones; estrogen; risk factors; breast cancer

About this article
Title

The effect of physical activity on sex hormones levels in women. Implications for the risk of breast cancer

Journal

Nowotwory. Journal of Oncology

Issue

Ahead of print

Article type

Review paper

Published online

2021-10-29

DOI

10.5603/NJO.a2021.0067

Keywords

exercise
gonadal steroid hormones
estrogen
risk factors
breast cancer

Authors

Kinga Słojewska

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