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Exercise "cuts bowel cancer risk"

People who exercise on a regular basis are at less risk of developing potentially dangerous growths in their bowel, new research has revealed.

Those who lead sedentary lifestyles are more vulnerable to large or advanced polyps in the bowel, which can lead to bowel cancer, the research conducted by experts at the Washington School of Medicine in the US found.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Cancer, analysed data from 20 other research programmes and found that people who are more active in their day-to-day life are 16% less likely to develop polyps and 30% less likely to develop large or advanced polyps, which have a high chance of developing into cancer.

Lead author, Professor Kathleen Wolin, said: "We've long known that an active lifestyle can protect against bowel cancer but this study is the first to look at all the available evidence and show that a reduction in bowel polyps is the most likely explanation for this.

"Exercise has many benefits, including boosting the immune system, decreasing inflammation in the bowel and helping to reduce insulin levels - all factors which we know are likely to have an effect on bowel polyp risk.

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British Journal of Cancer