Physical activity and cancer

September 12th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  6 Comments

From a recent study:

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths annually. It has been estimated that one third of all cancer deaths are related to overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. Epidemiological studies have shown that regular physical activity reduces the risk for some types of cancer as well as postdiagnosis mortality.

Let’s break it down. Physical activity reduces risk of:

Breast cancer: by at least 20%. Higher levels of recreational physical activity especially demonstrated greater risk reduction.

Colon cancer: by 20% or more.

Endometrial cancer: about 30%.

And for the manpeople, prostate cancer: exact risk reduction unclear; however physical activity may protect against the more aggressive forms of the disease.

Zoeller, Robert F. “Lifestyle in the Prevention and Management of Cancer: Physical Activity”.  American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, Vol. 3, No. 5 (2009): 353-361.


  1. Sam says:

    September 13th, 2009at 6:12 pm(#)

    This is why, though it may seem cold-hearted and careless, I no longer “donate to the cure” for lifestyle-related diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, lung cancer, type 2 diabetes…in looking at the financial statements and digging down to find where the money goes in many of these “charities”, I find that very little goes to prevention. Very sad.
    Thanks for the post!!

  2. Trishy says:

    September 14th, 2009at 11:21 am(#)

    Although I agree with your reasoning Sam, and agree that much much more needs to be done towards prevention, I must point out that healthy and fit people get cancer all the time. There are too many environmental and genetic factors there that we cannot control for and often don’t even know that they exist. Some cancers are more lifestyle-related than others, such as lung cancer. But of course, non-smokers also get lung cancer, just not as much as smokers.

  3. | says:

    September 17th, 2009at 1:36 am(#)

    […] Physical activity and cancer :: […]

  4. ephraim says:

    September 17th, 2009at 9:33 am(#)

    Also, i’d point out that just because people make life choices that aren’t the healthiest from an outside perspective (which all of us do all the time, in our own different ways) doesn’t mean that they deserve to die an awful, painful death. Funding a search for a cure is as important as funding prevention, whether or not we have any agency over our risk factors.

  5. Chaobell says:

    September 21st, 2009at 12:03 pm(#)

    Wow, Sam, seriously?

    I truly hope nobody you care about ever ends up with one of those diseases, then. The last thing someone who is dealing with a serious illness needs is someone else blaming them for it.

  6. Mistress Krista says:

    September 21st, 2009at 6:33 pm(#)

    I didn’t interpret this as a blaming comment, but rather a comment in favour of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Both, of course, are important.

    I do wonder, as I see pink ribbons everywhere, why we are not asking more pointed questions about why the hell everyone is getting breast cancer? (Or any other cancer, for that matter.) What is in our air, our water, and our bodies? No question, sometimes it’s just a weird random thing (as happened to my health-conscious mother with colon cancer) but I would very much like to know what we’re soaking in to make our poor little DNAs all mutated.

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