Ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, new research from Denmark, published in Cancer Research, reiterates the beneficial effects of exercise for women who have survived breast cancer, this time highlighting the protective biological mechanism that occurs with exercise.
Researchers at Denmark's Copenhagen University Hospital studied the biological process triggered by exercise in women undergoing chemotherapy after breast cancer surgery, as part of a six-week exercise program.
After two hours of moderate-to-intense exercise, researchers observed an increase in the level of certain biological factors in the blood, giving blood serum the ability to reduce the survival of breast cancer cells, called MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231, in vitro.
Moreover, when researchers injected mice with blood serum obtained after exercise sessions, they observed that MCF-7 cell survival and the ability to form tumors were reduced.
In fact, 45% of mice receiving cells exposed to serum obtained after exercise developed tumors compared with 90% of mice receiving cells exposed to serum obtained at rest.
Further analysis showed that the increase in adrenaline levels in blood serum after exercise leads to the activation of a known tumor suppressor signaling pathway.
Research published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment in July 2017 suggests that women who have survived breast cancer should take part in regular physical exercise to combat fatigue and cognitive impairments, two symptoms often encountered in the wake of the disease.
In April 2017, the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) published new recommendations on the benefits of mind-body therapies, such as meditation and yoga, during and after breast cancer treatment, based on clinical trials evaluating 80 alternative practices.