Doctors Fail to Inform Patients of the Importance of Exercise

Monday, January 05, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: physical exercise, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Primary care doctors are failing to adequately inform their patients that regular exercise can significantly decrease their risk of colon cancer, according to a survey conducted by researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Cheltenham, Pa., and published in the journal Patient Education and Counseling.

Research has demonstrated that people with highly active lifestyles are 30 to 40 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than their more sedentary cohorts. This effect is so striking that researchers have identified up to 14 percent of all colon cancer cases in the United States as caused by a lack of physical activity.

Yet in a survey of 1,932 adults, researchers found that only 15 percent of respondents listed physical activity as a way to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Study co-author Elliott Coups said that doctors can encourage patients to exercise based on the general health benefits alone, without mentioning colon cancer specifically.

But a growing body of research suggests that beyond its general health benefits, exercise is a potent way of reducing the risk of cancer specifically, especially cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovaries and uterine lining (endometrial cancer). One study, for example, found that women who exercise the most have a 23 percent lower risk of developing pre-menopause breast cancer than sedentary women. This exercise level is equivalent to only 3.25 hours per week of running, or 13 hours of walking.

Researchers believe that these cancers, which are linked to levels of sex hormones in the body, might be particularly affected by exercise because physical activity is known to regulate hormone levels.

Exercise has proven effective at reducing the risk of other cancers, as well. According to one Japanese study, people who are more physically active are 13 to 16 percent less likely to develop any kind of cancer. Studies on Western populations have shown an even stronger effect.

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