Vidyya Medical News Service
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Volume 6 Issue 90 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 30-Mar-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 31-Mar-2004
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Physical activity and endometrial cancer risk

Regular exercise, as well as routine activities such as walking and household chores, may reduce a woman's risk of endometrial cancer by as much as 30 to 40 percent, according to researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and the Shanghai Cancer Institute in China.

Charles E. Matthews, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt, and his colleagues, evaluated 832 women with endometrial cancer, aged 30 to 69 years, identified through the Shanghai Cancer Registry. The control population, matched according to age, was randomly selected from female residents of Shanghai. The women were asked about the amount of walking and cycling for transportation, intentional exercise and household activity in which they engaged as adolescents age 13 to 19 years and as adults. Lifetime occupational activity was also evaluated. Women who reported exercise participation in both adolescence and adulthood were 30 to 40 percent less likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who reported no exercise in either life-period. Common activities, including household chores and daily walking, were also found to reduce risk by about 30 percent. Reductions in risk were evident for women who reported walking for 60 minutes each day compared to women reporting less than 30 minutes of walking per day; likewise for women who reported four or more hours per day of household activity, compared to women reporting two hours or less each day. Engaging in higher levels of overall physical activity appeared to minimize some of the adverse effects of body weight on endometrial cancer risk. Neither cycling nor occupational activity appeared to influence endometrial cancer risk in this study.

"In recent years, we have accumulated strong evidence that an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer; now we are finding that physical activity may also reduce risk of endometrial cancer" said Matthews, the lead author of this report.

"We were particularly pleased to see the beneficial effect on endometrial cancer risk of more accessible and lower intensity forms of activity like walking for transportation and doing household chores, as well as intentional exercise," he added. "Our results support the idea that the risk of cancer can be reduced by maintaining an active lifestyle."


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