Being Fit Can Protect Against Developing, Dying of Cancer!
Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) appears to be a strong independent predictor of not only developing 2 common cancers, but also the prognosis.
The risk of developing both lung and colorectal cancer were decreased by 68% and 38%, respectively, in men with the highest levels of fitness, as compared with those who were the least fit, according to a new study.
A high level of fitness was also associated with a 14% reduction in cancer-specific mortality, and a 23% reduction in cardiovascular-specific mortality.
Dr. Lakoski presented the findings of her research at a press briefing held in advance of the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology® (ASCO).
The cohort included 17,049 men (mean age, 50 years) who had received a single cardiovascular fitness assessment as part of a specialized preventive health check-up visit that was offered at the Cooper Institute, in Dallas, Texas. Performance was recorded in established units of fitness called metabolic equivalents (METs). The participants were then separated into 5 quintiles according to their fitness performance.
Medicare claims were then subsequently analyzed to identify the participants who had developed lung, colorectal, or prostate cancer. The mean times from their initial CRF assessment to cancer incidence and death were 20.2 ± 8.2 years and 24.4 ± 8.5 years, respectively. During this time period, a total of 2885 men were diagnosed with prostate, lung, or colorectal cancer (2332 with prostate cancer, 276 with colorectal cancer, and 277 with lung cancer).
Within the study period, a total of 769 men died of all-cause mortality, with 347 of those deaths due to cancer, and 159 to cardiovascular disease.
Compared with men in the lowest CRF quintile, the adjusted hazard ratio for lung and colorectal cancer incidence among men in the highest CRF quintile was 0.32 and 0.62 respectively.
Even a small improvement in fitness levels (1-MET increase in CRF) was associated with a 14% reduction in cancer-specific mortality.
Everyone Can Benefit!
The study authors also found that that even if the men weren’t obese, those who had low fitness had an increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease.
“This suggests that everyone can benefit from improving their fitness,” said Dr. Swain, who served as a comoderator of the briefing.