Women who have beaten breast cancer can reduce their risk of death by 60% if they exercise for as little as 15 minutes per week, new research has identified.

Between 2013 and 2015, a team of academics studied more than 300 middle-aged women, all of whom had recovered from breast cancer.

They found that the participants who exercised for less than 15 minutes per week were significantly more at risk of dying than those who exercised for longer.

Scientists are now campaigning for physical activity to be included in official care plans as “even moderate activity may be vital for extending survival”.

Approximately 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year, health data shows.

According to prior findings, breast cancer kills more than 11,000 females in the UK and 42,000 in the USA each year.

The researchers said: “The protective effect of physical activity on risk of developing breast cancer is known.

“However, its effect after breast cancer diagnosis remains controversial. It has been suggested both moderate and strenuous exercise have comparable benefits. But survival outcomes have been studied rarely among patients with cancer.”

They added: “The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of physical activity beyond essential daily functioning with risk of all-cause mortality among breast cancer survivors.

“Our findings further suggest survivorship care plans should consider incorporating physical activity because even moderate activity may be vital for extending survival as well as health-related quality of life.”

The results from this study can now be accessed in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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