Monday, September 8, 2008

Exercise May Cut Risk Of Various Cancers

“Adults who are regularly active, whether through exercise or work, are less likely to develop a range of cancers, a new study suggests. The study, which followed nearly 80,000 Japanese adults for up to a decade, found that regularly active men and women had lower risks of developing any type of cancer. When the researchers looked at specific types of cancer, they found that exercise was linked to lower risks of colon, liver, pancreatic and stomach cancers. They also found that the protective effect was strongest among normal-weight men and women -- supporting the theory that physical activity helps lower cancer risk at least partly through better weight control. Dr. Manami Inoue and colleagues at Japan's National Cancer Center, in Tokyo, report the findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Physical activity was defined not only as leisure-time exercise, but also the amount of time participants typically spent walking, doing physical labor and housework. It's thought that exercise may help prevent cancer, in part, by controlling body fat. But physical activity also has other effects that could theoretically stave off cancer, Inoue and colleagues point out. Exercise can, for example, stimulate immune system activity, one of the body's natural defenses against cancer. It may also alter levels of certain hormones, including sex hormones and insulin-like growth factors, which can feed the growth and spread of tumors.”

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