Leaving Sedentary Lifestyle increases Cancer Risk

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According to a new study, the time that people spends doing nothing might increase the risk for cancer. This is also the same case with the number of times spent with exercise reduces the occurrence of cancer.

Senior research epidemiologist at the Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Calgary, Canada, Christine Friedenreich says there is evidence that sedentary lifestyles contributes to the risk of colon cancer.

She added that meeting the physical activity guidelines like doing 150 minutes a week of exercise is not enough if a person would spend most of his time sitting.

Friedenreich says regular exercise reduces the risk up to 35 percent for colon cancer. More physical activities mean lower cancer risk. The same thing also applies for breast cancer, but the risk only reduced to 25 percent when regularly exercising.

One expert said the new findings do support an association between inactive lifestyles and cancer.

Dr. Freya Schnabel, director of breast surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said that there is beginning to be proof that the way obesity raises the risk of cancer is because of an increase in inflammation in the body, and exercise lessens inflammation, which might reduce the risk of cancer. However, she stressed that more research should be conducted so that the study could be considered as the truth.

Friedenreich agreed. Even though, the association between lack of exercise and the increased risk for heart disease entrenched, the link between a “couch potato” lifestyle and cancer risk is a relatively new finding and one, needing added investigation.

Friedenreich, who has studied the link between exercise and cancer for years, slated in presenting the findings Thursday at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) yearly conference in Washington, D.C.

In her most recent work, Friedenreich and her colleagues discovered that there is a link between exercise and the reduction of markers of inflammation, such as one called C-reactive protein that might explain how exercise reduces affects the risk of breast cancer.

Friedenreich noted, that currently, there is no conclusive proof that this marker of inflammation lowers the risk of developing cancer. She added that the process might be more complicated.

It is not just lack of exercise, which such markers of inflammation — just sitting around or leading an inactive life style may have the same effect. Friedenreich’s lecture also describes findings from a study that got first published in 2009 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The journal implies simply sitting around watching TV can cut years off a person’s life.