bowel cancer

Exercise has long been known to provide a plethora of benefits for our physical and mental health. Now, a new study has revealed that even moderate amounts of physical activity can help to prevent deadly diseases such as bowel cancer.

Published in the International Journal of Cancer, the latest study reveals exactly how exercise helps to reduce the risk of getting the disease. Here, we will look at what the study found and why becoming more active is key to staying healthy.

The latest bowel cancer study

The latest study was carried out by researchers from the York St John and Newcastle universities. A prospective, two-site, controlled, and randomised trial was carried out on 16 men. They ranged in age from 50-80, and each had lifestyle risk factors of bowel cancer.

The men were split into two groups, with one group undergoing six 5-minute indoor cycling intervals with a 60% heart rate reserve. The other group carried out no exercise and instead enjoyed 60 minutes of seated rest while the other group were exercising. Human serum was collected before and after exercise to measure any exercise-induced changes in intracellular protein expression and serum cytokines.

It was revealed that exercise increased the levels of blood IL-6 protein. When blood was taken right after exercise, it helped to slow down cancer cells while also reducing the amount of DNA damage caused.

Speaking of the findings, Exercise Physiology lecturer from the Newcastle University, Dr Sam Orange, states:

“Previous scientific evidence suggests that more exercise is better for reducing bowel cancer risk, as the more physical activity people do, the lower their chances of getting it. Our findings support this idea.”

What type of exercise is better at preventing cancer?

While all types of exercise can help to reduce the risk of cancer, cardio tends to be one of the most effective. This gets the heart rate up, and it also leads to the production of higher levels of blood IL-6 protein.

Carrying out exercise multiple times a week can provide protection against several forms of the disease, including bowel cancer. What was most interesting about the new study was that it showed exercise has benefits at reducing the risk of cancer far beyond weight loss.

Detect bowel cancer early

While this new study could lead to the development of new treatments and aid in the prevention of bowel cancer, this could take a while. It is also worth noting that not all cases of bowel cancer can be prevented. The best way to detect bowel cancer early is to be regularly screened.

There are numerous ways to screen for bowel cancer, but a colonoscopy is one of the most effective. This common and painless procedure helps to detect any changes within the large colon and rectum. Book a consultation with Mr Woodward today to arrange a colonoscopy, or you can seek a referral from your GP.

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