Overview of Evidence
Evidence shows that the correct levels of physical activity can prevent primary and secondary cancers and reduce the risks of consequences of treatment and co-morbidities.
Those who are physically active at recommended levels of at least 150 minutes moderate intensity physical activity each week significantly reduce their risk of cgetting certain cancers. The risk of breast cancer can be reduced by 20–40% and colon cancer by 30–50%. In England 27 million adults are not active enough to benefit their health.
Consequences of treatment
Cancer treatments are associated with acute as well as late and long term adverse physical and psychological side effects. Being physically activity specifically helps prevent and or manage cardio-toxicity, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, lymphoedema, bone density, body weight and composition, quality of life, cancer related fatigue, anxiety and depression.
There is also emerging evidence that physical activity can help prevent cancer recurrence and in reducing the chance of dying from breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. For example, on average, breast cancer survivors who are physically active reduce their risk of death by between 30-50% compared to women who were less physically active.
Inactivity has a substantial impact on the risk of major non communicable disease, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, dementia, musculoskeletal health, mental ill health. For example, physically active adults have a 35-50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes and 20-35% lower risk of cardio vascular disease, coronary heart disease or stroke.
In a Macmillan study, 49% of cancer survivors had at least one other chronic condition, this includes 15% who have two and 6% who have three other chronic conditions.
Last updated on April 2, 2013