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Exercise "cuts colon cancer risk"

Research has found that people who take regular exercise reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by 24%.

According to a team of US experts, people who take exercise are less likely to develop the cancer than people who do very little physical activity.

Taking regular exercise reduces the risk as it helps substances in undigested food that can cause cancer to move through the bowel more quickly than if no exercise has been taken.

The review of 52 studies, published in the British Journal of Cancer, also found that the risk of developing bowel cancer, including colon cancer, was cut with regular physical activity as it helps reduce the level of insulin and other hormones, which are linked to the growth of cancer tumours, while reducing inflammation in the bowel, which could otherwise cause bowel cancer.

One of the studies compared women who walked briskly for five to six hours a week with those who walked for 30 minutes a week or less.

Collectively, the results showed that the risk for both men and women who took regular exercise was cut by 24%.

Study author Dr Kathleen Wolin said: "These results give us a very reliable calculation of the positive effect that exercise can have on reducing colon cancer risk."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

British Journal of Cancer