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    Sunday, December 31, 2006

    Some Might Call it a Male-Dominated Conspiracy: What to make of this claim?

    Moderate housework can help women substantially to cut their risk of developing breast cancer, according to a study.

    Researchers analysed data from 218,169 women, aged 20 to 80, in nine European countries, looking at a range of activities, including work, leisure and housework.

    Pre-menopausal women who did housework were 30 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than pre-menopausal women who did none, while post-menopausal women who did housework were 20 per cent less likely to develop the disease than those who did none.


    The study is a bit dubious itself. Overall, the women who had breast cancer were older, less active in general, and more likely to use hormone replacement therapy than the women without breast cancer. Intuitively, it makes no sense that housework would protect against breast cancer better than, say, mountain biking or other recreational activities, but that's exactly what the study claims. It may be that being physically active provides some sort of protection against breast cancer, and that the women in the study got most of their exercise from housework instead of other avenues. Color me unconvinced.
     

    posted by sydney on 12/31/2006 04:03:00 PM 2 comments

    2 Comments:

    So, I shouldn't have been prescribing housework to my female patients?

    GruntDoc

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:29 PM  

    Thank you for sharing this study. Fun read. It is data dredging for correlations and none of their findings are tenable (beyond random chance). A few (not clinically relevant, but funny) stats on postmenopausal breast cancer risks (odds ratios) from their findings:

    Manual labor and heavy occupational labor increased risk 8%

    Overall, moderate INACTVITY lowered risk by 11% -- proving to be more protective than being the most ACTIVE.

    Boy, it's a stretch for them to conclude that physical activity has much to do with it. Housework was the most common activity among all of the women -- so it's sort of like finding a correlation among breast cancers and wearing bras and trying to blame the bras.
    :)
    Sandy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 PM  

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