Physical activity in the prevention and evolution of cancer

3 May, 2023

It is known that physical exercise is important for general health and that it also helps to prevent and control cancer.

A paper, published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise magazine, analyzes the role that physical activity plays in the risk of developing cancer and in those patients who overcome it, its relationship with survival.

Physical activity influences cellular processes, tumor growth and also reduces cell proliferation Studies in experimental animals have shown that a substantial reduction in tumor growth occurs in response to physical exercise (some studies show a reduction between 31 and 67%). In addition, since obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing at least 13 types of cancer, physical activity can be very useful to reduce that risk.

Decreases the probability of cancer

There is important evidence showing that physical activity decreases the probability of developing at least 7 types of cancer: colon, breast, kidney, uterus, bladder, stomach and esophagus. It has also been proven that physical exercise reduces the risk of liver cancer by 27% compared to people who exercise little or lead a sedentary lifestyle.

In general terms, to reduce the risk of developing cancer, it is recommended to do 150 to 300 minutes per week of aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, running, etc.), although the exact amount needed to reduce that risk is not known.

Several studies have examined the relationship between physical exercise after the diagnosis of breast, colorectal or prostate cancer with mortality, verifying that the risk of mortality decreased between 26 and 69% in patients who exercised compared to those who did not. On the other hand, there are preliminary studies that suggest that physical exercise can improve the efficacy of treatment, although this hypothesis is being verified in larger studies.

In summary, the practice of physical exercise is beneficial for the prevention of various types of cancer and also for survival after diagnosis. In addition, it is important to try to avoid obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

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