Azara Blog: Doing house work allegedly reduces the risk of breast cancer

Blog home page | Blog archive

Google   Bookmark and Share

Date published: 2006/12/29

The BBC says:

Women who exercise by doing the housework can reduce their risk of breast cancer, a study suggests.

The research on more than 200,000 women from nine European countries found doing household chores was far more cancer protective than playing sport.

Dusting, mopping and vacuuming was also better than having a physical job.

The women in the Cancer Research UK-funded study spent an average of 16 to 17 hours a week cooking, cleaning and doing the washing.

Experts have long known that physical exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer, probably through hormonal and metabolic changes.
The latest study looked at both pre- and post-menopausal women and a range of activities, including work, leisure and housework.

All forms of physical activity combined reduced the breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women, but had no obvious effect in pre-menopausal women.

Out of all of the activities, only housework significantly reduced the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal women getting the disease.

Housework cut breast cancer risk by 30% among the pre-menopausal women and 20% among the post-menopausal women.

The women were studied over an average of 6.4 years, during which time there were 3,423 cases of breast cancer.

A classic case of confusing correlation and causation. All they have found is a correlation (a "link"), they have no evidence of a causation, although the article effectively states there is a causation. Of course it's possible that there is a causation here, it's just that they have not proven it, so should not claim it. And until they come up with a better explanation than hand-waving about "hormonal and metabolic changes" one should treat any claim of causation with suspicion.

All material not included from other sources is copyright For further information or questions email: info [at] cambridge2000 [dot] com (replace "[at]" with "@" and "[dot]" with ".").