Exercise and Colon Cancer

There’s some good news on the colon cancer mortality horizon. A recent study found that long-term, regular physical activity is associated with a low risk of mortality due to colon cancer. This latest study supports an already existing body of literature that proposes that individuals with a physically active lifestyle receive a number of benefits, including increased cancer prevention and decreased cancer-associated deaths.

The recent study, which appears in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, was conducted by the Siteman Cancer Center and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Researchers examined data obtained from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II) Nutrition Cohort to determine if changes in levels of physical activity affected the rate of development colon cancer and the risk of dying from the colon cancer.

The data consisted of 150,000 men and women. Physical activity levels between 1982 and 1997 were compared and correlated to colon cancer diagnoses and colon cancer death. Physical activities that were measured in the study included walking, lap swimming, running, jogging, tennis, bicycling, stationary bicycling, racquetball, aerobics, calisthenics, and dancing. The researchers determined that people who were regularly active for at least 10 years were at a significantly decreased risk of dying from cancer of the colon when compared to individuals who were inactive. More specifically, individuals who were active consistently for 15 years had a 50 percent lower risk of dying from colon cancer than their sedentary counterparts.

It must be noted that the study was performed retrospectively, looking at previously collected data and this might have altered the conclusions. An independent evaluation of the study suggested that the rate of development of colon cancer was unchanged in those who regularly exercised, but that the risk of dying from colon cancer did actually decrease.

It’s important to note that because consistent, long-term physical activity appears to be associated with a lower likelihood of death due to colon cancer, it is never too late to start being more physically active. Additionally, regular colon cancer screening, including a colonoscopy by your Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Hollywood or Culver City gastroenterologist is essential to detect cancer of the colon at its earliest stage.