Results from a recent study analyzing the relationship of physical activity and cancer indicated that physical activity results in a risk reduction of 13 types of cancer. The results of this study were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Scientists and numerous cancer research facilities have conducted significant research on the relationship of health conditions and exercise. As a result, there has been a consensus that exercise has a role in risk reduction in colon cancer, breast cancer, and uterine cancer.

In this study, researchers evaluated cancer incidence and self-reported physical activity in 1.44 million individuals from 1987-2004. Study participant data was analyzed based on whether or not an individual developed cancer as well as whether or not self-reported physical activity was considered high level versus low level. Approximately 187,000 participants were diagnosed with cancer during the study.

Examples of self-reported physical activity included walking, running, swimming, and others. The time duration for these activities was on average 150 minutes per a week at a moderate intensity level.

The researchers concluded that high versus low levels of physical activity were associated with a risk reduction of 13 different cancers. The cancers that recorded the highest risk reduction were esophageal cancer, liver cancer, cancer of the gastric cardia, kidney cancer, and myeloid leukemia. In addition, there was also a trend in risk reduction for multiple myeloma and cancers in the head, bladder, neck, lungs, and rectum; however the data for these types of cancers was not as strong. Lastly, data also showed that those who engaged in more activity reduced their chances of having colon cancer, breast cancer, and uterine cancer, which are significantly more common forms of cancer.

A co-author from the American Cancer Society states, “For years, we’ve had substantial evidence supporting a role for physical activity in three leading cancers: colon, breast, and endometrial cancers, which together account for nearly one in four cancers in the United States. This study linking physical activity to 10 additional cancers shows its impact may be even more relevant, and that physical activity has far reaching value for cancer prevention.”

Reference: Moore SC, et al. Leisure-time physical activity and risk of 26 types of cancer in 1.44 million adults. JAMA Internal Medicine. May 16, 2016. DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1548.

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