A new study shows exercise might reduce the risk of 13 types if cancer, and the authors are recommending that healthcare professionals bring the study to their patients’ attention.
In the study, the authors followed 1.4 million Europeans and Americans for about 11 years, asking them about their physical activity habits and gathering data on their incidences of cancer. Upon analysis, the researchers found that high levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with lower risks of 13 cancers including liver, lung, breast, colon, myeloma and bladder.
The researchers are affiliated with cancer institutes and universities in both Europe and the United States, including the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; the Institute of Population Based Cancer Research in Oslo, Norway; and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.
In the study, high levels of physical activity also were linked with a 7% lower risk of any cancer, according to a May 16 article published in Live Science online. The article also stated that exercise reduced the risk of 10 out of the 13 cancers listed, regardless of the study participant’s body mass index or smoking habits.
“These findings support promoting physical activity as a key component of population-wide cancer-prevention and -control efforts,” the researchers wrote in the May 16 issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, where the study was published.
High levels of physical activity were linked with a 5% increased risk for prostate cancer and a 27% risk for skin cancer, which the researchers said was likely due to more sun exposure.
A commentary that accompanied the article said the researchers did not address the issue of quantity or quality of exercise and should be studied in future research.
The new findings do “underscore the importance of leisure-time physical activity as a potential risk-reduction strategy to decrease the cancer burden in the United States and abroad,” Marilie Gammon, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues wrote in the commentary.
In the study, authors suggested “healthcare professionals who counsel inactive adults should emphasize that most of these associations were evident regardless of body size or smoking history, supporting broad generalizability of findings.”
Nurses have embarked on an initiative to promote healthy communities across America by encouraging people to exercise and adopt healthy lifestyles, according to nationalnurseshalfmarathon.com. The organization praised Helene Neville, a nurse, cancer survivor and runner, for spending three decades leading half-marathons in the U.S. to promote exercise.
For an overview of the concepts of cancer and a basic foundation in the nursing care of adult patients receiving chemotherapy, take the CE module, “Cancer and Chemotherapy.”
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