Regardless of your age, it’s important to maintain muscle mass. Muscles ensure you stay balanced and able-bodied, but there’s another benefit. A new study, published in JAMA Oncology, found that women with low muscle mass were less likely to survive stage two or three breast cancer.
The researchers observed 3,421 women who were all diagnosed with either stage two or three breast cancer. CT scans helped determine their muscle-to-fat ratio and their muscle mass.
Women with healthier muscle-to-fat ratios were more likely to survive breast cancer.
Cancer causes the body to lose muscle, and tumors release a factor that blocks muscle repair. This process—known as cancer wasting—is responsible for 20 to 30 percent of cancer-related deaths.
If a woman has already experienced cancer and lost muscle as a result, it puts her at a higher risk of developing cancer in the future. Furthermore, if a person has lived a prolonged sedentary lifestyle, this sets them up for greater muscle depletion and makes healing from cancer far more challenging.
Those with higher muscle mass upon cancer diagnosis are already fitter and generally adhere to a healthier lifestyle overall. Their bodies are also better prepared to deal with cancer wasting.
The findings reaffirm the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, especially for those over 40 years old.
With each passing year after the age of 30, living a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a 5 percent reduction of muscle mass after a decade. Such people suffer significant muscle mass depletion by the time they reach 60.
Taking the necessary steps now to protect your muscles can go a long way, not only in improving your quality of life, but possibly protecting you from cancer outcomes.
Devon Andre has a bachelor of forensic science from the University of Windsor and a juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. This article was originally published on BelMarraHealth.com