Lowering Men’s Cancer Risk Through Fitness

Posted by Meghan Orner on June 29, 2015

Lowering Men’s Cancer Risk Through Fitness

Exercise is good for all of us – it’s a simple fact of life. Whether we are young or old, male or female, exercising on a regular basis comes with many health benefits. To further explore its benefits, many recent studies have researched the correlation between one’s fitness level and one’s risk for certain illnesses or diseases. Published in JAMA Oncology, one such study sought to find the possible relationship between a middle-aged man’s fitness levels and his risk for developing three types of cancer: lung, colorectal and prostate cancers.

The Treadmill Test

Treadmills are a popular exercise equipment for many regardless of age, which is one reason why the ‘treadmill test’ was used in this study to determine if exercise lowers men's cancer risk. Lead by cardiologist at the Vermont Cancer Center Susan Lakoski, this study also used treadmills because they accurately and objectively measure one’s level of fitness as opposed to one’s own fitness reports.

Once the results from the treadmill tests were analyzed, the team of researchers determined that male participants in the 40 to 50 age range with a high fitness score were 55 percent less likely to develop lung cancer and were 44 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer when compared to those participants with a low fitness score. Interestingly enough, one’s fitness level did not seem to decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Even physically active men who did develop prostrate, lung or colorectal cancer decreased their mortality risk from cancer by one-third and their mortality risk from cardiovascular disease by two-thirds.

But this study could not have discovered these finding on its own – it is actually part of a bigger study conducted by the Cooper Institute in Dallas which collected data from almost 14,000 men’s preventative health exams and  their Medicare data concerning prostrate, lung or colorectal cancer between 1999 and 2009.

Not only does this study provide hope for those diagnosed with cancer, but it also provides a new motivation for everyone to stay active as they age. However, it does pose the question as to how much exercise can prevent certain diseases, which will hopefully be answered in future studies.

Fitness Fights Cancer

So what about the ladies? One of the most obvious points about this study is that it solely focuses on how exercise lowers men's cancer risk. But even though this particular study doesn’t involve women, other studies have shown that exercise can help reduce many major cancers in both men and women, including colon, endometrial and breast cancers.

Even though this study employed the treadmill test, you don’t have to use a treadmill to lower your cancer risks, especially since gym memberships can be pricey. As exercise promotes longevity, particularly in men, even just 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week can make a difference. Remember to speak with your doctor to help you determine your limitations and what exercises will be best for you – everyone is different, and the exercise routine that works for someone else may not work for you!

This study shows that not only can exercise help you recover from certain health problems but it can also help prevent them, which is why it is so important to do whatever you can to live an active lifestyle.


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