Many risk factors have been identified for breast cancer, some are non modifiable (such as age) or particularly challenging to modify (such as reproductive factors).Studies have shown that the risk of getting breast cancer is lowered by physical activity which is also a modifiable risk factor for many other non communicable diseases, however the risk reduction (if any) has never been assessed in the Malaysian population and there is a perception that the younger generation is becoming less physically active. Identifying any risk reduction could help in health policy formulation with regards physical activity especially in primary and secondary education in Malaysia
Aim: To examine the association between breast cancer and lifetime histories of physical activity
Methods: This is a case control study with 120 women aged 35-75 receiving treatment for breast cancer in Universiti Sains Hospital, Kelantan and 120 matched (age group and ethnicity) controls.
Data was collected by trained enumerators through interviews using a guided questionnaire. Data on physical activity from household/outdoor chores, occupation, sports/recreation for four age periods (onset of menstruation to age 21 years; age 22-34 years; 35-50 years and above 50 years) were collected using a modified version of the questionnaire developed by Friedenreich et al.
The study is currently on-going and data is being actively collected from controls. Preliminary analyses on 120 cancer cases and 50 controls have shown that family history of cancer was strongly associated with breast cancer risk (odds ratio predicted by the model: 2.16). There was a reduced risk of breast cancer with an increase in metabolic equivalent (MET) value by one point among women aged 30-50 in the occupation category
Based on preliminary analyses on a sample of Malaysian women, family history is a predictor of breast cancer and physical activity may reduce the risk.