Staying Fit to Fight Colon Cancer

Several reports have shown that regular physical activity both improves the outcome of

patients with colorectal cancer as well as serve as a strong preventative tool protecting against its development.

See below for reviews of the research highlighting the benefits of exercise in colon cancer prevention and therapy.

Recent studies highlighting the benefits of exercise during colon cancer therapy.

According to two recently published studies, simply walking 30 minutes per day can significantly reduce the risk of recurrence in patients recently diagnosed with colon cancer. "Higher levels of physical activity contributed to a 50% reduced risk of recurrence and mortality when combined with standard therapies," says Jeffrey Meyerhardt from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the lead author of two recently published studies linking exercise to improved colorectal cancer survival.

In the first study, researchers found that patients diagnosed with stage III colon cancer who were physically active (walking 6 or more hours per week) at six months following therapy, had significantly lower rates (50%) of recurrences and death from the disease than inactive patients. In a subsequent study, the same researchers observed 573 women with stage I to III colorectal cancer and determined those patients who increased their physical activity experienced a 50% reduction in mortality. In an editorial which accompanied these studies, Wendy Denmark-Wahnefried from Duke University concluded that "These strong epidemiological studies give consistent data about the benefits of exercise for cancer survivors."

Check out the Active Surviors Network to see how you can recover through physical activity. 

Impact of physical activity on cancer recurrence and survival in patients with stage III colon cancer: findings from CALGB 89803. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006 Aug 1;24(22):3535-41. Physical activity and survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006 Aug 1;24(22):3527-34