Helmholtz Association

Quantifying avoidable risk factors for breast cancer

From research conducted at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
Foto Joggen

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Foto Brustkrebszellen

Brustkrebszellen in fluoreszenzmikroskopischer Aufnahme. Photo/Graphic: DKFZ/L. Langbein.Read more

Foto Brustkrebszelle

Fluoreszenzmikroskopische Aufnahme einer Brustkrebszelle in Nahaufnahme. Photo/Graphic: DKFZ/L. Langbein.Read more

Nearly one in three cases of postmenopausal breast cancer is caused by a lack of exercise and a hormone replacement therapy to ease the discomforts of menopause.

This finding comes from a study involving 3,000 patients and more than 6,000 control persons conducted by the DKFZ and the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Medical Center. Non-modifiable factors such as early onset menstruation, late onset menopause and breast cancer in the family are responsible for 37 percent of malignant breast cancer cases – a figure that is only slightly higher. The study also showed that alcohol consumption and obesity increase the risk of cancer, but to a lesser extent. “If behavioural changes can be achieved, particularly with respect to hormone replacement therapy and physical activity, almost 30 percent of all breast cancer cases occurring after menopause can be prevented,” says Professor Karen Steindorf.

Andreas Fischer

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Dr. Phillip Hahn

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Helmholtz Association

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