Lifetime physical activity and breast cancer risk in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study

Br J Cancer. 2001 Apr 6;84(7):994-1001. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2000.1671.


Overall physical activity in adolescence and adulthood, and changes in activity over the lifespan were analysed by in-person interviews among 1459 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and 1556 age-matched controls in urban Shanghai. Physical activity from exercise and sports, household, and transportation (walking and cycling) was assessed in adolescence (13-19 y) and adulthood (last 10 y), as was lifetime occupational activity. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence limits (OR (95% CL)) while controlling for confounders. Risk was reduced for exercise only in adolescence (OR = 0.84 (0.70-1.00)); exercise only in adulthood (OR = 0.68 (0.53-0.88)), and was further reduced for exercise in both adolescence and adulthood (OR = 0.47 (0.36-0.62)). Graded reductions in risk were noted with increasing years of exercise participation (OR(1-5 yrs)= 0.81 (0.67-0.94); OR(6-10 yrs)= 0.74 (0.59-0.93); OR(11-15 yrs)= 0.55 (0.38-0.79); OR(16 + yrs)= 0.40 (0.27-0.60);P(trend,)< 0.01). Lifetime occupational activity also was inversely related to risk (P(trend)< 0.01). These findings demonstrate that consistently high activity levels throughout life reduce breast cancer risk. Furthermore, they suggest that women may reduce their risk by increasing their activity levels in adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires