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Editor questions claims that cancer is ‘bad luck’

Editor questions claims that cancer is ‘bad luck’
January 13, 2015

With headlines that most cases of cancer are apparently the result of ‘bad luck’ having dominated global news at the start of the year, Australasian Leisure Management Editor Karen Sweaney has highlighted the value of active lifestyles.

Headlines such as 'Two thirds of cancers are due to bad luck' were typical of much news reporting following new research published in the journal Science by researchers Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti of the respected School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in the USA.

Vogelstein and Tomasetti's mathematical analysis of the genesis of cancer suggested many cases are not preventable and can be attributed to chance mutations rather than risk factors associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.

However, Sweaney referred to Cancer Council Australia that states "doing little or no physical activity is associated with a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.

"Physical inactivity is responsible for 14% of colon cancers and 11% of post-menopausal breast cancers – and probably contributes to many other cancers."

As a result, Sweaney stated “why would any responsible person leave something as important as their health to chance?”

"Cancer Council Australia guidance stresses 'physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It can decrease the risk of developing cancer as well as improving cardiovascular fitness, maintaining bone mineral density and reducing stress.

"Being more active can also reduce body weight, another factor that influences the risk of developing cancer.'"

Sweaney referenced a 2011 Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport conference presentation by Rob Newton from The School of Exercise and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University where he explained "research clearly demonstrates that normal weight people who are sedentary are at far greater risk of morbidity and mortality than overweight people who are physically active and fit.

"Evidence shows that being physically active results in a 20% reduction in lung cancer, 30% reduction in breast cancer, 50% reduction in colon cancer and 70% reduction in prostate cancer."

Sweaney also highlighted Macmillan Cancer statistics identifying that cancer survivors can reduce their risk of cancer-specific death and recurrence by up to 50% by staying active.

She concluded "regular physical activity coupled with good diet active and healthy lifestyle is widely acknowledged as being a significant factor in reducing the risk of developing cancer as well as reducing the risk of a range of other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

“By making the decision to be more active and to improve eating habits, it may not be a guarantee against cancer, but it certainly improves the odds in people’s favour.”

Click here for more information on the research report Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions as published in Science.

Click here to view the Cancer Council Australia's opinion on nutrition and physical activity.

3rd December 2014 - REPORT IDENTIFIES GROWTH IN PERSONAL TRAINING LED BY RISING LEVELS OF HEALTH CONSCIOUSNESS

3rd November 2014 - AUSTRALIANS NEGLECTING PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF EXERCISE 

24th March 2014 - EXERCISE & SPORTS SCIENCE AUSTRALIA CALLS FOR GOVERNMENTS TO RECOGNISE EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY IN HEALTH 

26th September 2012 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA RESEARCHS MEDICAL AND EXERCISE REFERRALS

21st October 2011 - FITNESS NOT FATNESS SHOULD BE MANTRA

11th August 2011 - EXERCISE SHOULD BE 'STANDARD PART OF CANCER CARE'


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