A recent review provides further evidence that exercise reduces the risk of developing certain cancers. Researchers pooled data from 12 different studies in Europe and the United States that analysed self-reported physical activity. A total of 1.44 million individuals (median age, 59 years) were included.
Of the individuals studied, the median activity level was the equivalent of about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or the equivalent combination. Individuals were followed-up for an average of 11 years, and 185,932 cases of cancer were reported. The study showed that exercise reduced the risk of developing 13 cancers, with the risk reduction ranging from 10 to 42%.
The risk of developing kidney cancer was reduced by 23% by taking regular exercise.
The 13 cancers where incidence was reduced by exercise were oesophageal adenocarcinoma (reduced 42%), liver cancer (27%), lung cancer (26%), kidney cancer (23%), gastric cancer (22%), endometrial cancer (21%), myeloid leukaemia (20%), myeloma (17%), colon cancer (16%), head and neck cancer (15%), rectal cancer (13%), bladder cancer (13%) and breast cancer (10%).
Physical activity was associated with an overall 7% reduction in the risk for developing cancer of any type, but the reason for this is unknown.