The study involved 2,080 women who participated in the Iowa Women’s Health Study and who had a confirmed cancer diagnosis between 1976 and 2002. These women also had completed a follow-up questionnaire in 2004 in which they provided information on body weight, physical activity and diet, as well as other lifestyle factors and demographics.
The researchers then identified the death of 495 study participants from 2004-1009. Of this group, 197 died from cancer while 153 died from cardiovascular disease. In their analysis, researchers adjusted for age, number of comorbid conditions, general health, smoking, type and stage of cancer, current cancer treatment and subsequent cancer diagnosis.
They found that diet, exercise and weight made a big difference. “Elderly female cancer survivors who achieve and maintain an ideal body weight, stay physically active and eat a healthy diet have an almost 40 percent lower risk for death compared with women who do not follow these recommendations,” said Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi, research associate in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.
So what are the takeaways from these studies? First of all, talk to your doctor about doing blood work to see if you’re at higher risk for breast cancer due to hormone levels. And secondly, really focus on diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight in order to give yourself the best chance at a long life!
Primary Sources for This Sharepost:
American Association for Cancer Research. (2012). Adhering to lifestyle guidelines reduced mortality in elderly female cancer survivors.
American Association for Cancer Research. (2012). Blood hormone levels predicted long-term breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women.