Regardless of your age, it’s still important that you maintain muscle mass as it can protect you and your health. It ensures you stay balanced and able-bodied. But there’s another benefit of maintaining muscle mass.
New research suggests having strong muscles may protect your odds against breast cancer. The study, published in JAMA Oncology, unveiled 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 muscle to fat ratio.
Those patients with more fat and less muscle were less likely to survive breast cancer compared to those women with healthier fat-to-muscle ratios.
The relationship may be explained because cancer itself causes the body to lose muscle and it’s more difficult to hold onto energy to maintain muscle. 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 risk for 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 with cancer far more challenging.
Those with higher muscle mass upon cancer diagnosis already are fitter and generally adhere to a healthier lifestyle overall. The body is better prepared when there’s muscle to face any challenges.
This reaffirms the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, especially after the age of 40.
With each passing year after the age of 30, living a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a five percent reduction of muscle mass after a decade. So, by 60, your muscle mass is quite depleted.
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 against cancer outcomes.
Also read: 5 tips to build stronger muscles