Most cancers are caused by lifestyle factors — not genes.
The second most important action you can take to help guard against many types of cancer – after dieting and food choices – is exercise. Up to one-third of cancer-related deaths are due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, including two of the most common cancers in the world, breast and colon cancer.
But the benefits of exercise are not limited to prevention alone. It can also help you recuperate faster and help prevent recurrence of cancer. A report issued by the British organization Macmillan Cancer Support just last year argues that exercise really should be part of standard cancer care. It recommends that all patients getting cancer treatment should be told to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for two and a half hours every week, stating that the advice to rest and take it easy after treatment is an outdated view.
Advice for fighting and preventing cancer with exercise:
Exercise reduces the risk of breast-cancer.
The relationship between physical activity and breast cancer incidence has been extensively studied, with over 60 studies published in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Most studies indicate that physically active women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than inactive women.
Exercise plays an important role in reducing the risk of cancer of the colon and rectum.
Colorectal cancer has been one of the most extensively studied cancers in relation to physical activity, with more than 50 studies examining this association. Many studies in the United States and around the world have consistently found that adults who increase their physical activity, either in intensity, duration, or frequency, can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent relative to those who are sedentary regardless of body mass index (BMI), with the greatest risk reduction seen among those who are most active.
Exercise reduces the risk of endometrial cancer.
About 20 studies have examined the role of physical activity on endometrial cancer risk. The results suggest an inverse relationship between physical activity and endometrial cancer incidence. These studies suggest that women who are physically active have a 20 percent to 40 percent reduced risk of endometrial cancer, with the greatest reduction in risk among those with the highest levels of physical activity.
Exercise reduces the risk of lung cancer risk.
At least 21 studies have examined the impact of physical activity on the risk of lung cancer. Overall, these studies suggest an inverse association between physical activity and lung cancer risk, with the most physically active individuals experiencing about a 20 percent reduction in risk.
Exercise may reduce the risk of liver cancer.
Research results announced at the 2013 International Liver Congress found that mice who exercised on a motorized treadmill for an hour each day, five days a week for 32 weeks, experienced fewer incidents of liver cancer than sedentary mice.
Your Lifestyle Has Tremendous Influence Over Your Health and Cancer Risk:
In light of the evidence supporting the notion that lifestyle changes, such as exercise, have a profound impact on the risk of cancer, it would be foolish in the extreme to ignore such advice. In fact, it is surprising that most oncologists will not expressly recommend exercise as a standard for cancer prevention and treatment.
How much exercise do you need to help prevent cancer?
According to national activity guidelines, a good goal is to exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. To get the most benefit, though, aim for about an hour a day. Moderate-intensity activities such as brisk walking may be sufficient, although there is more benefit with increased intensity.