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Thursday 27th June 2019

Bowel cancer risk lowered with exercise

2nd March 2011

UK cancer charities have welcomes findings that suggest that people who lead an active lifestyle are up to a third less likely to develop polyps which can develop into bowel cancer.


The report, which pulls together 20 previous studies looking at the link between exercise and the development of large polyps, has been welcomed by the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer UK and Caner Research UK.

As the third most common cancer in the UK, more than 38,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in this country.

Writing in the British Journal of Cancer, scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis in the US claim the figures are the most accurate to date linking low exercise levels to bowel polyps.

They found that people who take regular exercise were 16% less likely to develop bowel polyps and 35% less likely to develop large or advanced polyps.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said the evidence showed that keeping active could help prevent thousands of cases of cancer every year.

Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “Although the majority of polyps are not cancerous, it is thought that almost all bowel cancers develop from polyps.

"Therefore we recommend taking 30 minutes of physical activity each day, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, to reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer.”

However, Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said it was still also important that people took part in bowel cancer screening programmes.


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