Breast cancer researcher calls for women to be more active to reduce breast cancer risk

April 27th, 2015

A breast cancer researcher supported through funding from the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic has called for women to use this year’s event – May 10, 2015 – to kick start their exercise routine and reduce their risk of breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Foundation Early Career Fellow, Dr Brigid Lynch, says there is a lot of evidence to show that exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer.

“I think it’s fantastic that something so easy and accessible, like going for a walk or run, can have real health benefits for women,” says Dr Lynch.

That’s why Dr Lynch is calling for all women and their families to get involved in this year’s Mother’s Day Classic. This year families, friends and fans of fitness can choose from a record 104 event locations across Australia.

“Signing up for a fun run, like the Mother’s Day Classic, is a great way for women to begin a training routine, and hopefully adopt that routine as a habit in the future,” says Dr Lynch. “By participating in the Mother’s Day Classic, you are not only helping to raise vital funds for breast cancer research, you are investing in your own health too.”
“Most studies suggest that 30 to 60 minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity reduces breast cancer risk. Hopefully this provides some additional motivation for all of the women taking part in this event!”

Dr Lynch, a Cancer Council Victoria researcher, has received a four-year Fellowship from the National Breast Cancer Foundation to investigate how exercise and sedentary lifestyle may affect breast cancer risk.
This National Breast Cancer Foundation Early Career Fellowship was made possible with funding received from the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic.

“A big problem is that the evidence about exercise and breast cancer risk comes from studies where women have had to self-report their exercise, so we don’t know the optimal dose,” explains Dr Lynch. “It’s very hard for women to remember the amount of exercise they used to participate in, or even to get accurate data about their current level of physical activity.”
Dr Lynch aims to improve upon existing research by using accelerometers to accurately measure the true physical activity and movement patterns of healthy, post-menopausal women. She will then examine biological markers of breast cancer risk to help determine the ideal ‘dose’ of physical activity to reduce breast cancer risk.

The findings of this research will enable doctors to provide more specific exercise advice to reduce the risk of breast cancer and improve survival in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Mother’s Day Classic, now in its 18th year, is the largest Australian breast cancer research fundraiser. The event, established and organised by Women in Super, will this year pass the $25 million mark in funds raised for National Breast Cancer Foundation research, helping to achieve a lasting impact on survival statistics and providing research answers for a range of other cancers.

For breast cancer researchers, like Dr Lynch, this ongoing support is vital for their research projects and their careers.

“Having an organisation that offers this longer-term funding is so important because research takes time from implementation to completion. It is such a benefit to have four years to work consistently and solidly on these research questions,” says Dr Lynch. “This time will help me get this research up and running, and to get preliminary evidence that can help to leverage larger funding grants.”

Registrations are open now for the event, which takes place on Sunday May 10 (Mother’s Day). Register, volunteer or donate at mothersdayclassic.com.au

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