Fitness May Protect Against Lung and Bowel Cancers



A recent study of a large and diverse group of people supports the idea that being in good physical shape can help protect against cancer.

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People in good physical shape may be at lower risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Working with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, saw how fitter adults had the lowest risk of lung and colorectal cancer.

Their analysis also linked better physical condition before diagnosis to better survival in those who developed lung or colorectal cancer.

the to study used data from 49,143 health system patients who had exercised stress fitness tests between 1991 and 2009.

The composition of the group was 46% women, 64% white, 29% black and 1% Hispanic.

The researchers believe this is the first time that such a study has included women and covered such a large proportion of individuals who were not white.

“Our results,” said study lead author Dr Catherine Handy Marshall, assistant professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, “are one of the first, largest and most diverse cohorts to examine the impact of physical fitness on cancer outcomes.

About half a million people living in the United States today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point in their lives, according to figures released online by the American Lung Association.

According to 2016 figures, deaths from the disease have declined 6.5% since their peak in 2005. However, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Estimates suggest that lung cancer caused 154,050 deaths in the United States in 2018, which represents about 25% of all cancer deaths.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) declares that colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States

The ACS estimates that approximately 145,600 people in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2019, and that the disease will be responsible for 51,020 deaths.

Cardiorespiratory fitness provides an objective means of assessing “usual physical activity. “It is also a useful measure for diagnosing and predicting health.

Most people can improve their cardiorespiratory fitness by exercising regularly. In addition, there is “compelling evidence” that moderate and high levels of fitness can reduce the risk of death in men and women from all cardiovascular causes and causes.

Yet, as Dr Handy Marshall and colleagues point out, there is little information on the relationship between cardiorespiratory capacity and risk and survival in lung and colorectal cancer.

The study participants, aged 40 to 70, did not have cancer when they underwent fitness assessments. The assessments measured cardiorespiratory capacity in metabolic task equivalents (METs).

During a median follow-up of 7.7 years, investigators retrieved information on cancer incidence from links to the cancer registry and on deaths from the National Death Index.

For the analysis, the team divided the participants into groups according to the MET value of their stress test: 6 MET and less, 6-9 MET, 10-11 MET and 12 MET and more.

Researchers found that the fittest individuals (with a MET score of 12 and above) had a 77% lower risk of developing lung cancer and a 61% reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to the less able ( 6 MET and less).

In their analyzes, the researchers adjusted the results to rule out the effects other factors, such as gender, race, age, body mass index, diabetes, and smoking, might have on the relationship. . And, in the case of colorectal cancer, they also adjusted the results for aspirin and statin use.

The results also revealed that among those diagnosed with lung cancer or colorectal cancer, those with the highest level of cardiorespiratory condition had a reduced risk of death during follow-up of 44% and 89% respectively.

The authors conclude that, in what they believe to be the “largest study to date”, higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were “associated with a lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer in both men and women. , and at a lower risk of all. cause of death in people diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer.

Since the study was not designed to draw such a conclusion, the team couldn’t say that improving fitness actually reduced risk and improved survival in these cancers. This question remains for further studies.

Dr Handy Marshall notes that it is now common practice for physicians to measure cardiorespiratory capacity as part of clinical assessments.

Many people may already have these results and may be told about the association of fitness with cancer risk in addition to what fitness levels mean for other conditions, such as heart disease.

Dr Catherine Handy Marshall



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