Does a healthy lifestyle prevent hereditary breast cancer?

Does a healthy lifestyle prevent hereditary breast cancer?

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Study examines ways of preventing breast cancer
Many people have an inherited increased risk of cancer. Prevention options are particularly important to them. "Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can protect women from developing breast cancer and reduce the risk of relapsing breast cancer," reports the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG). To what extent the measures also have an effect on an inherited cancer predisposition will be examined in a new study.

Can a healthy lifestyle reduce hereditary cancer risk? Scientific studies have shown that a healthy diet and physical exercise have a preventive effect against breast cancer. But "whether women with an inherited predisposition to breast or ovarian cancer with a healthy lifestyle can protect themselves from breast cancer or relapse has not yet been investigated," said the UMG. For a corresponding study by the German Cancer Aid, participants are still being sought at the UMG breast center.
Researchers are investigating whether exercise and a healthy diet are suitable for preventing hereditary breast cancer. (Image: gpointstudio /

Changes in breast cancer genes are a known risk factor
Many women are genetically at increased risk of breast cancer. Changes in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 are particularly associated with a high risk of disease. A large study is now to examine whether sport and a healthy diet can prevent the occurrence of cancer even with the appropriate disposition. The UMG Breast Center is currently looking for volunteers for the study by the German Cancer Aid. "Healthy and sick women between the ages of 18 and 70 who have been shown to have a change in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 can participate," reports the UMG. The study should clarify "whether women with a high, inherited cancer risk can benefit from a structured sports and nutrition program."

Structured nutrition and sports program including cooking class
According to the UMG, the so-called LIBRE study compares two groups to which the participants are assigned by lottery. In the “control group”, according to the experts, at the beginning of the study there was a sports medical examination, an explanation of the benefits of regular physical activity and advice on healthy eating. The implementation is left to the test subjects. The “Intervention Group” has an additional three-month diet and sports program including a cooking course. After the three months, the subjects are examined again and then clinical check-ups are carried out once a year for a period of three years. In addition, the study participants should fill out questionnaires to record physical activity, diet and stress levels.

According to the UMG, the LIBRE study was started in 2016 in 16 centers for familial breast and ovarian cancer of the German Cancer Aid throughout Germany. "LIBRE" stands for "lifestyle intervention in healthy and sick BRCA1 / 2 mutation carriers". The director of studies has Prof. Dr. Marion Kiechle from the women's clinic at the Klinikum rechts der Isar (TU Munich). The aim is to review the options for preventing hereditary breast cancer risk.

Other risk factors identified
In view of the fact that more and more young women are already developing breast cancer, doctors are also asking which risk factors play a role in addition to the hereditary predisposition. Recent studies have made it clear, for example, that overweight of the fathers also has an influence on the daughters' breast cancer risk. In addition, there are likely to be numerous other factors involved that have not yet been identified. However, effective prevention requires that all risk factors are known, if possible. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Introduction to Hereditary Cancer (August 2022).