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Physical exercise

Just 60 minutes of activity a day cuts colon cancer

Friday, December 15, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: physical exercise, cancer risk, colon cancer


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(NewsTarget) Exercise activities like swimming -- when done for about an hour per day -- can lower the risk of colon cancer, according to a new study. Even two hours of less-strenuous activity like housecleaning or similar lower-intensity exercises can also have an effect on lowering the risk of colon cancer.

A team of international scientists analyzed the impact of physical activity on the risk of colon cancer, and the data studied concluded that people with the highest levels of exercise were 22 percent less likely to develop that often-deadly form of cancer.

Exercise had the largest impact in cutting colon cancer risk in people of normal weight, but exercise was also beneficial to a lesser extent in men and women who were overweight or obese. Oddly, exercise did not have a protective effect against rectal cancer in the same study's results.

Estimates in developed countries state that colon and rectal cancer are among the most common cancers, with more than 940,000 cases being diagnosed each year. However, about 492,000 people will die from colon and rectal cancer as a result of being diagnosed.

Health officials, though, estimate that about 70 percent of colon cancer cases could be prevented by changes in diet and exercise.

What makes this study significant is the large number of varied participants; it looked at more than 413,000 people in 10 European countries to arrive at its conclusions. Dr. Christine Friedenreich, lead author of the research, said, "This study is significant because of its very large sample size and the different levels of activity that were observed across the European countries."

Professor Elio Riboli stated, "We were particularly interested in the results that we found for different parts of the colon and rectum which were not feasible in previous studies because of the smaller sample sizes and lack of data on the position of the tumors."

The research by Dr. Freidenreich's team was recently published by scientists working for the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). That organization was developed to look at and investigate the relationships between diet, nutrition, lifestyle and environmental factors and cancer.

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