A University of Rochester Medical Center study is good news for women who have a close relative with breast cancer and fear that no matter what they do, it won't matter.

Having a family history of breast cancer can lead some women to wonder if the risk is out of their control. However, the study of more than 85,000 postmenopausal women, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research, observed that regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and drinking less alcohol lowers breast cancer risk for those with and without a family history of the disease, according to a University of Rochester press release.

Unhealthy lifestyle

Lead author Robert E. Gramling, associate professor of Family Medicine, and Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC, said “a family history of breast cancer can arise in part due to shared unhealthy behaviors that have been passed down for generations.”

“Untangling the degree to which genes, environments, and behaviours contribute is difficult. But engaging in a healthy lifestyle can help women, even with a family history.

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