Being physically active daily is a recognized step people can take to lower the risk of colorectal cancer. Now, another study finds that for those who do get diagnosed, that brisk daily walk before diagnosis may also improve survival, regardless of tumor type.
Compared to those who walked the equivalent of less than an hour weekly, longer survival was seen in patients who were active at least 30 minutes a day five days a week.
For the study, researchers asked approximately 1,300 survivors of colorectal cancer how active they were the years prior to their diagnosis. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 74 and they recalled their activity habits an average of eight months after they were diagnosed. The patients joined between 1998 and 2007. After an average of 6 years, 408 patients had died, half from colorectal cancer.
Overall, increasing levels of physical activity linked to longer survival. That applied to mortality from any cause as well as colorectal cancers. Compared to those who were active 3.5 MET hours/week before diagnosis – the equivalent of less than one hour a week of brisk walking – survivors who were briskly walking the equivalent of 1 to 2.5 hours a week (3.5 to 8.75 MET hours/week) sliced their risk of dying during the course of the study by about half. The more prediagnosis activity survivors were, the greater the link.
The equivalent of briskly walking 5 to 10 hours a week (17.5 to 35 MET hours) had almost 70 percent lower risk of dying during the course of the study compared to those doing 3.5 MET hours/week.
The links were seen after taking into account age, BMI, tumor stage and other factors that play a role in survival. It was also consistent for tumor stage at diagnosis and tumor markers linked to survival.
The study was funded by National Cancer Institute and through agreements with Colorectal Cancer Family Registry centers.
Source: Sheetal Hardikar et al. Prediagnostic Physical Activity and Colorectal Cancer Survival: Overall and Stratified by Tumor Characteristics. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev July 2015 24:1130-1137; Published Online First May 14, 2015.
Published on July 22, 2015