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Research: Exercise can lower risk of getting bowel cancer

News Agencies | Updated on: 9 April 2022, 10:53 IST
Cancer Research

A team of researchers has identified how exercise can lower your risk of getting bowel cancer and slow the growth of tumours.

The research was published in the journal, 'International Journal of Cancer'.

It has been shown that physical activity causes the cancer-fighting protein, interleukin-6 (IL-6), to be released into the bloodstream which helps repair the DNA of damaged cells.

The research also sheds new light on the importance of moderate activity in the fight against life-threatening illnesses and could help develop treatments in the future.

Dr Sam Orange, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at Newcastle University, said, "Previous scientific evidence suggests that more exercise is better for reducing bowel cancer risk as to the more physical activity people do, the lower their chances of getting it. Our findings support this idea."

"When exercise is repeated multiple times each week over an extended period, cancer-fighting substances -- such as IL-6 -- released into the bloodstream have the opportunity to interact with abnormal cells, repairing their DNA and reducing growth into cancer," he added.

Dr Adam Odell, Senior Lecturer in Biosciences from York St John University, who was also involved in the study alongside Dr Alastair Jordan and Dr Owen Kavanagh, added, "Importantly, it is not just bowel cancer risk that can be reduced by leading a more active lifestyle. Clear links exist between higher exercise levels and a lower risk of developing other cancers, such as cancers of the breast and endometrium."

"By working out a mechanism through which regular physical activity is able to produce anti-cancer effects, our study provides further support for current national and global efforts to increase exercise participation," he added.

Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 11 per cent of all new cancer cases. There are around 42,900 people diagnosed in the UK every year, that's nearly 120 each day.

It is estimated that physical activity reduces the risk by approximately 20 per cent. It can be done by going to the gym, playing sports or through active travel such as walking or biking to work, but also as part of household tasks or work like gardening or cleaning.


First published: 9 April 2022, 10:53 IST