A recent, important study found that physical activity can reduce your breast cancer risk. Which isn’t exactly a new idea, as plenty of studies before it have drawn the same conclusion. But apparently, according to the Daily Mail, there’s really only one kind of activity that women should worry their cancer-y little breasts about: Housework.
Here’s how the Mail reports this study. Bolds are mine, for emphasis:
Researchers found women who spent six hours a day doing household chores, going for a brisk walk or gardening were 13 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than their sedentary peers.
Even those who managed just two-and-a-half hours of activity reduced their cancer risk by eight per cent.
Did you catch that? Six hours per day doing housework, or going for a brisk walk. Cleaning, preparing dinner for your adoring and hardworking husband, and doing the laundry don’t have some magical, cancer-thwarting powers–moving around does. Not that you’d guess that from the Mail‘s headline, which reads “Housework could reduce the risk of breast cancer by 13%.”
This is a highly unfortunate take on a very salient study. The research that the Mail is reporting on here is actually really important–and distilling it down to a message of “hey, lazy women, you’re getting cancer because you’re not vacuuming often enough!” really kind of discredits the findings.
The largest ever study to look at the impact of physical activity (of any kind, housework-related or otherwise) and breast cancer risk, the study looked at over 8,000 cases of breast cancer in women. The final conclusion? That physical activity–such as dog-walking, light jogging, or even just walking to the grocery story–can slice the risk of breast, colon, and even uterine cancer.
But, of course, suggesting that women do actual exercise, like jogging, taking a fitness class, or, heaven forbid, bone-boosting weight lifting, would go against everything the Daily Mail stands for, because it would recommend some level of autonomy or life outside of the home. The Mail is pretty notorious for being in a tizzy about “career women,” who ruin tradition every time they don a pencil skirt and leave the house to go to work.
Don’t let the Daily Mail’s headline fool you–there’s nothing special about housework that will cut your breast cancer risk. Just get enough exercise, and you’ll be doing all you can.
Image: Rudchenko Liliia via Shutterstock