Walking Beneficial in Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction

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Diagnosis: Breast cancer, Colorectal cancer, Endometrial cancer

RX: Physical Exercise: Get yourself a dog

    Many of the latest studies show a direct relationship between physical exercise and the prevention or reduction of risk with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer and other cancers. One study in 2011 showed that 3-4% of all bowel, breast and uterine cancers are linked to physical inactivity.

The correlation of body mass index and inactivity with the type of cancer you get suggests the possibility of a metabolic reason or gene pathway linking being overweight and inactivity.  The Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study included about 150,000 people.  In this study we can assume that the subjects reporting did a pretty good job of it since they were health professionals. The study asked the participants to record their diet, exercise, weight and other responses for a year. In the participant population, 861 (0.574%) developed colon cancer. This group has been studied several times. In this group, the study identified that the body mass index (BMI) and physical activity correlated with the kind of cancer you got.

In a second study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, January 2013, investigators identified 2300 individuals with invasive, nonmetastatic colorectal cancer and measured how much exercise they got before and after their diagnosis. The study showed those participants who were more physically active, both before and after diagnosis, had much better outcomes.

How much exercise was or is necessary to get these better outcomes?  Moderate physical activity of 30 minutes, five times a week, can reduce your cancer risk. If you can get more than 30 minutes, you can get more reduction in risk.  Therefore, a good prescription for both treatment and prevention: Get Yourself a Dog and Walk the Dog, twice a day for 30 minutes. But don’t expect your insurance to cover it.