How breast cancer survivors can increase their reduced life expectancy
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IMAGE: Napha Phyakulquach works out after undergoing cancer treatment. view more 

Credit: Christina Gandolfo

A USC study suggests regular exercise could add to the life expectancy of breast cancer survivors because it lowers their heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and possibly breast cancer recurrence.

“Many people don’t know the No. 1 cause of death for breast cancer survivors is heart disease, not cancer,” said Christina Dieli-Conwright, lead author of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on Jan. 22.

Breast cancer has a relatively high survival rate. An estimated 9 out of 10 people who have breast cancer are still alive five years after they were diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. The problem, however, is women tend to gain weight during breast cancer treatment.

The new study suggests female breast cancer survivors should engage in a mix of aerobic and resistance exercise to reduce their increased risk for metabolic syndrome — a cluster of health conditions that includes high blood pressure, excessive body fat and high triglycerides. High triglyceride levels increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.

“In breast cancer patients, metabolic syndrome is exacerbated by obesity, a sedentary

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