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NCI Outlines Benefit Data of Physical Activity for Five Ca’s

NCI Outlines Benefit Data of Physical Activity for Five Ca’s

BETHESDA, Maryland—Convincing evidence indicates that physical activity can
significantly reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer, according to a newly
released National Cancer Institute (NCI) fact sheet. Moreover, studies also
suggest a link between exercise and a reduced risk of cancers of the prostate,
lung, and endometrium. However, despite the documented cancer and other health
benefits of exercise, "recent studies have shown that more than 60% of
Americans do not engage in enough regular physical activity," NCI said. The new
publication summarizes the evidence supporting the role of exercise in cancer
risk reduction and the possible underlying biological mechanisms

Colon Cancer

Physically active individuals can reduce their risk of developing colon
cancer by 40% to 50%, with the higher reduction found among those people who
are the most physically active.

"A decreased risk of colon cancer has been consistently reported for
physically active men," the NCI report said. "Many studies have reported a
reduction in colon cancer risk for physically active women. The relationship
between physical activity in women, however, has been less consistent."

Exercise mostly works through multiple and perhaps overlapping biological
pathways to lower the risk of colon cancer. "Many researchers believe physical
activity aids in regular bowel movements, which may decrease the time the colon
is exposed to potential carcinogens," the NCI noted. Other factors in risk
reduction may include the changes in insulin resistance, metabolism, hormone
activity, and inflammatory and immune factors associated with exercise.

Breast Cancer

Most evidence suggests that both premenopausal and postmenopausal women who
are physically active have a reduction of up to 40% in their risk of breast
cancer. "Although a lifetime of regular, vigorous activity is thought to be of
greatest benefit, women who occasionally engage in physical activity also
experience a reduced risk compared to inactive women," the NCI said. "A number
of studies also suggest that the effect of physical activity may be different
across levels of BMI [body mass index], with the greatest benefit seen in women
in the normal weight range, generally a BMI under 25 kg/m2."

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