Increased Physical Activity Associated with Lower Risk of 13 Types of Cancer

A new study of the relationship between physical activity and cancer has shown that greater levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with a lower risk of developing 13 different types of cancer.

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Dr. Stegall’s comments: Physical activity has been shown to reduce risk for virtually all types of cancer. The good news is that this activity can take on various forms, including walking, jogging, swimming, lifting weights, and many others. For those already battling cancer, regular exercise has been shown to improve treatment outcomes.

Is physical activity beneficial for cancer survivors?

Research indicates that physical activity may have beneficial effects for several aspects of cancer survivorship–specifically, weight gain, quality of life, cancer recurrence or progression, and prognosis (likelihood of survival). Most of the evidence for the potential benefits of physical activity in cancer survivors comes from people diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer.

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Dr. Stegall’s comments: This article reinforces the importance of routine physical activity in the prevention and treatment of cancer. The overall point is to get out and move!

More Evidence of Exercise for Cancer Prevention

A large new study concluded that exercise reduces the risk of 13 cancers. It’s the latest evidence in a growing area of research suggesting that exercise may play a role in both cancer prevention and healthy survivorship.

For breast, endometrial, and colon cancers, there is currently strong evidence that exercise reduces the risk. Evidence that being active reduces the risk of other cancers is not as well established, often because many of these studies are relatively small.

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Dr. Stegall’s comments: Exercising for 20-30 minutes, at least several times per week, can have a dramatic impact on cancer risk. Physicians of all specialties should ask their patients about exercise, and encourage regular exercise. Many people feel intimidated by the idea of exercise, but I would encourage anyone reading this to start where you are. If you have not exercised in years and are very deconditioned, walking in your house or around your yard for 5-10 minutes is a great start. Build up as you can, gradually increasing your exercise tolerance. You will be amazed at how quickly your stamina and fitness will improve.