Reduce bowel cancer risk with exercise

Bowel cancer (or colon cancer) is one of the 3 most deadly forms of cancer for men, along with lung and prostate cancer. However, bowel cancer seems to be mostly caused by lifestyle, that is, poor diet and lack of exercise.

“Previous, though limited, reviews have indicated physical activity is associated with a significant reduction in colon polyp risk. (World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, 2007a) Our comprehensive meta-analysis supports this conclusion, showing a significant 16% risk reduction when comparing the most to the least active.”

The latest study by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis used data from 20 previous investigations into the relationship of bowel cancer and lifestyle. It was found that exercise helped to reduce the occurrence of large polyps in the bowels.

“This study confirms previous reports of a significant inverse association of physical activity and colon adenoma, and suggests that physical activity can have an important role in colon cancer prevention.”

Other recent research in the last few weeks showed a new relationship between colon cancer and diet. Eating red meat and processed meat greatly increases the risk of developing colon cancer.

This study supports the Danish cancer research that found that those that followed a healthy lifestyle (healthy diet and regular exercise) saw a reduction on colon cancer by 23%.

So, to avoid one of the biggest cancer killers you should ensure that you maintain a healthy diet, which means limited red meat and eating plenty of fiber, and getting regular exercise. It is very likely that this approach will actually help to reduce other forms of cancer too, as well as reduce risk of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other weight related health problems.


Physical activity and risk of colon adenoma: a meta-analysis” by K Y Wolin, Y Yan and G A Colditz. British Journal of Cancer (2011) 104, 882–885. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6606045 www.bjcancer.comPublished online 8 February 2011 –

The associations between food, nutrition and physical activity and the risk of colorectal polyps and underlying mechanisms.” In Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective- Systematic Literature Review – Support Resource, World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (ed). AICR: Washington, DC


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