Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women in Australia and is mostly seen in those over 50 years of age. The five year survival rate for Australians is currently at 69%. Bowel cancer is higher in the Western world, which suggests that lifestyle factors play a role in the development of this condition. Physical activity has a relationship with bowel cancer incidence rates, and it has been suggested that increased activity can reduce bowel cancer risk. There has been research which shows there is a positive association between physical activity and bowel cancer, supported by biological mechanisms such as:
- Prevention of obesity (strong predictor of bowel cancer)
- Decreased inflammation
- Reduced insulin levels
- Decreased bowel transit time leading to decreased exposure to bile acids and other carcinogens
Based on these findings, physical activity has an important role in the preventative and recovery stages of bowel cancer. Many cancers which are prevalent in the Western world, are largely influenced by lifestyle factors. Although we cannot change the genetic risk of developing a certain type of cancer, we can control what’s in our environment – i.e. adequate nutrition, regular exercise and reducing stress. So this month – get moving at your local Optimum studio, we can work with your doctor to tailor an exercise plan based on your individualised needs. And remember, try to do at least half an hour of moderate physical activity five times a week, so that you get comfortably out of breath. If you’re not used to doing much activity, start slowly and work towards half an hour each day.