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Exercise and sleep cut cancer risk

The risk of cancer can be reduced through a combination of exercise and sleep, according to new research.

A study of almost 6,000 women spanning ten years found that in those who are physically active, significantly fewer cancers occurred.

However, it also showed that getting less than seven hours sleep per night eliminated the benefits of exercise and caused an increase risk of cancer.

Research leader, Dr James McClain, from the US National Cancer Institute, said that sleep duration alters the link between physical activity and cancer risk among young and middle-aged women.

Dr McClain's team assessed the effect of physical activity energy expenditure on the overall incidence of cancer in the women.

The findings were presented at an American Association for Cancer Research international conference in Washington, DC.

The next step would be to investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the anticancer interaction between sleep and exercise, said Dr McClain.

Although experts are unsure, they believe that hormone levels, immune function and body weight may all be involved in exercise reducing cancer risk.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

National Cancer Institute

Do you agree that physical activity and sleep can reduce the risk of cancer? Your comments: (terms and conditions apply)

"Definitely, probably due to both exercise and sleep having a positive effect on stress." - Lorna Price, Northants

"Yes, exercise and rest can only be of benefit to combat many health issues. Although as with most things, the balance needs to be right. It is important to remember that the needs of individuals vary!" - Adele Brodie, Peterborough