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TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For breast cancer survivors, exercise may help lower their chances of dying from the disease more than other healthy habits, a new review suggests.

The Canadian researchers analyzed 67 published articles to see which habits made the most difference in reducing the risk of either breast cancer recurrence or death.

Exercise came out on top, reducing the risk of breast cancer death by about 40 percent, said review author Dr. Ellen Warner, a medical oncologist at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre and a professor at the University of Toronto.

“It’s similar to the magnitude of chemotherapy or hormone therapy,” she said. “So, that’s pretty powerful.”

However, the review did not prove that exercise causes breast cancer risk to drop.

Besides exercise, the previous research looked at weight and weight gain, diet, smoking, alcohol and vitamin supplements.

The new review “pulls everything together,” said Leslie Bernstein, a professor in the department of population sciences at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. She first reported on the link between exercise and reduced breast cancer risk decades ago.

From the new review, Warner and her co-author Julia Hamer made several recommendations on what habits matter to reduce recurrence and death, but the effect of some habits remain inconclusive.

Besides exercise, the review found weight gains of more than 10 percent after diagnosis were linked to a greater risk of death. So, a 120-pound woman whose weight goes up to more than 132 pounds after diagnosis might increase her risk of dying.

No specific diet has been found better than another to reduce the risk of breast cancer returning, the review found. Warner said the advice to avoid soy, which has weak estrogens, was not supported by scientific studies.

Research on smoking cessation and breast cancer recurrence isn’t definitive, Warner said, but stopping smoking is crucial for other health-related…

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