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08/11/06

Exercise shows some benefits during colon cancer treatment

Linda Searing Washington Post Aug. 8, 2006 12:00 AM

The question: People who exercise have less chance than others of developing colon cancer. Might physical activity also benefit those who already have the disease?

This study involved 832 people who had had surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer that had not spread beyond the lymph nodes near the tumor. Within about seven years of surgery, the cancer had returned in 159 people; 84 had died (including some who did not experience recurrence). People who exercised at least moderately in the months after their chemotherapy treatment fared better overall than those who did not. For instance, people who walked six or more hours a week at a moderate pace (2-3 mph) were 47 percent less likely to have had a cancer recurrence or to have died than were inactive counterparts.

Who may be affected by these findings? People who have been treated for colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. advertisement

Caveats: People who were more physically active after treatment also may have exercised more before their diagnosis, which the authors said may have allowed them to "acquire tumors that were biologically less aggressive." Findings were based on self-reporting of physical activity. The study was funded in part by Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. (now Pfizer Oncology).

Find this study in the July 5 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology; abstract available at www.jco.org (click "Early Release Articles," then search for "colon").


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