PHYSICAL activity could lower the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 51%. For men in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer, but the causes of it are still mostly unknown. There is insufficient evidence on methods of reducing the risk of prostate cancer, apart from maintenance of a healthy weight. New research by the University of Bristol, Bristol, UK, along with the World Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK, was the largest of its kind, comprising 140,000 men, including 80,000 living with prostate cancer.
The Head of Funding at the World Cancer Research Fund, Dr Anna Diaz Font, said: “Up till now, there has only been limited evidence of an effect of physical activity on prostate cancer. This new study looked at the effect of 22 risk factors on prostate cancer, but the results for physical activity were the most striking. This will pave the way for even more research, where similar methods could be applied to other lifestyle factors, to help identify ways men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer.”
People who had a variation in their DNA that increases their likelihood of being active displayed a 51% reduction in their risk of prostate cancer. The study combined lifestyle factors, genetics, and risk of cancer and supports previous observational research that an active lifestyle can reduce cancer risk. A notable factor to consider is that activity referred to general physical activity, not specifically intense exercise.
Lead author Dr Sarah Lewis, Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK, concluded: “This study is the largest-ever of its kind which uses a relatively new method that complements current observational research to discover what causes prostate cancer. It suggests that there could be a larger effect of physical activity on prostate cancer than previously thought, so will hopefully encourage men to be more active.”