A healthy lifestyle is essential in the prevention of many diseases and it is a valuable ally for the lives of women who fight breast cancer or who have already recovered from it.

It is not enough, however, to deal with lifestyle, but it must be done in the right way. Why is it so important that women with breast cancer take care of their lifestyle? Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of Exercise Medicine and Functional Pathologies in Humanitas and professor at the Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine at the University of Milan, spoke about it during Mamazone 2017, the seventh edition of “Paziente Diplomata”, a day dedicated to women with and without breast cancer, organized by Humanitas last October 14.


Why take care of your lifestyle?

There are several reasons:


  • Reduction of the incidence of breast cancer or appearance of relapses.
  • Reduction of the cardio-metabolic risk often associated with some pharmacological therapies for the management of neoplastic pathologies.
  • Reduction of the risk of cardio metabolic diseases in general.
  • Management of a possible worsening of the lifestyle associated with the disease.
  • Take life in your own hands and look forward.


It is recommended to understand what are your goals, because the strategy will be different depending on the goals; in fact, different is the path of those who want to lose weight from the one of those who struggle to move the arm due to the presence of a lymphedema.


Nutrition and physical activity

There are many elements in the field when we talk about lifestyles, but diet and physical activity are particularly important, two factors that work even better together and on which we therefore need to work together.

As far as nutrition is concerned, the quality of what is eaten and the nutrients must be taken into account. A healthy diet must include lots of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins (white meat and fish) and preferably whole meal carbohydrates in the same quantity. Legumes are included in carbohydrates: legumes in fact contain the same amount of protein as meat, but if meat contains 20% protein, few fats and lots of water, legumes contain 20% protein, very little water and lots of carbohydrates, which although good are still carbohydrates.

The green light therefore goes to fruit, vegetables, nuts, oil, whole meal carbohydrates, legumes, yoghurt, dairy products, eggs and white meats. Processed red meat, refined carbohydrates, starches, sugars, foods high in sodium and foods containing industrial fats should be avoided.

A healthy diet cannot be separated from a constant physical activity. We need to work on two tracks: reducing sedentariness and structured physical activity. The contrast to sedentariness passes through the daily choices, paying attention to seize every possible moment to move. Physical activity, on the other hand, is divided into two major families: aerobic (walking, swimming, cycling) and strength and stretching (to strengthen muscles, relax muscles and increase joint movement). In this case, the activity must be chosen on the basis of its objectives; the prescription of physical exercise must in fact be personalized in the light of the needs of the patient.


Watch the full intervention of Professor Lucini, click here