Colorectal cancer patients who exercise, even moderate physical activity, significantly reduce their death risk say researchers. They were 53 percent more likely to be alive and free of the disease than those who were less physically active.
"Moderate exercise has now been incorporated in some guidelines for colorectal cancer survivors and this new research should further reinforce oncologists that they should discuss this in their survivorship plan," said study's lead author Dr Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MPH, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
"However, while our work found a significant benefit for patients who exercise, it's important that exercise still be seen as a supplement to, not a replacement for, standard therapies," Meyerhardt added.
During the study, Meyerhardt and his team examined 668 men with colorectal cancer. More than 50 percent of the men exercised the equivalent of one hour of walking, at least six days per week, although the men engaged in a variety of different recreational exercises.
The benefit of exercise was seen regardless of age, how advanced the cancer, weight and any history of previous physical activity.
The findings are published in Archives of Internal Medicine.