Breast Cancer: No Room at the Inn

Breast Cancer: No Room at the Inn

Mold loves a musty basement, mosquitoes like standing water and certain bacteria love improperly cooked meats. Given the “right” environment, these buggers flourish. Conversely, if their environments become inhospitable, they don’t live long.


This simple truth got scientists thinking: Is it true for cancer as well? Recently published research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) suggests that local environment can similarly influence tumor growth.


Breast and prostate cancers were tested in lab mice who were given chemotherapy and two conditions: a sedentary life or one with an exercise wheel. The mice who exercised fared better.


Here’s how: cancer cells (such as breast and prostate) thrive in areas of hypoxia, or low oxygen. That’s their sweet spot. With exercise comes greater oxygen into the tissues of the body and into the tumors. Improvement in number of blood vessels and smaller areas of poor perfusion or hypoxia were seen in the active mice.


So, score one more for exercise! Not only does it reduce the risk of breast cancer, but it may make tumor growth more difficult. Not a bad side effect for something good for your overall health.




Image credit: No vacancy. by A National Acrobat via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Originally published 3/31/15.