Regular exercise can cut the risk of bowel cancer by as much as 30%, new research reveals.
Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine found that people who took as little as 30 minutes of regular exercise were less likely to develop the larger polyps most likely to become cancerous.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, looked at data from 20 previously published pieces of work and found people who lead sedentary lifestyles are more likely to have growths.
Lead author Dr Kathleen Wolin said: ‘Exercise has many benefits, including boosting the immune system, decreasing inflammation in the bowel and helping to reduce insulin levels.’
Bowel cancer is the third most common form of the disease, and the second most common among women. There are around 38,600 cases a year in the UK.
People who took regular exercise were 16 per cent less likely to develop bowel polyps and 30 per cent less likely to develop large or advanced polyps which are more likely to develop into cancer.
Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Evidence shows that keeping active could help to prevent thousands of cases of cancer every year and this study adds weight to evidence showing regular exercise can substantially cut the risk of bowel cancer.
“We’d recommend doing at least half an hour’s moderate exercise a day – such as brisk walking or anything that leaves you slightly out of breath.”
Source: British Journal of Cancer