27 February 2013
People who are obese could be at a higher risk of developing a certain type of bowel cancer while exercise lowers the risk, a study suggests.
Researchers in the US analysed data from thousands of men and women to determine if there was a link between weight, exercise and the risk for CTNNB1-positive or CTNNB1-negative bowel, or colorectal, cancer.
A higher body mass index (BMI) was linked to an increased risk of CTNNB1-negative colorectal cancer, while physical activity was associated with a lower risk.
Both BMI and physical activity had no effect on the risk for CTNNB1-positive colorectal cancer, according to the research pubished in the journal Cancer Research.
Dr. Shuji Ogino, an associate professor of pathology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an associate professor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, said the results provided further evidence for a causal role of obesity and a physically inactive lifestyle in this specific type of bowel cancer.
"If physicians are able to identify individuals who are prone to develop CTNNB1-negative cancer, then it would be possible to strongly recommend physical activity," he said.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with 40,695 people receiving a bowel cancer diagnosis in 2010, according to Cancer Research UK data.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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