Exercise could help prevent at-risk from developing cancer

PEOPLE at risk of cancer could help prevent the disease and limits its symptoms by regularly exercising, a researcher has told a surgeons' conference in Perth.

Professor Daniel Galvao told the Royal Australian College of Surgeons' annual scientific congress his research had found evidence of the positive influence of exercise on some cancers.

He said regular, vigorous exercise could help prevent and better manage cancer, and some studies had also suggested a "protective effect" after a cancer diagnosis.

"The effect is strongest for breast and colorectal cancer. However, evidence is accumulating for the protective influence on prostate cancer," Professor Galvao said.

He said the hormone-replacement therapies for breast and prostate cancer could increase the risk of other diseases including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

"Increasingly, patients are questioning the benefit of some cancer treatments as the risk of morbidity and mortality from other chronic diseases begins to outweigh the initial cancer diagnosis," Prof Galvao said.

He added, however, that more than three decades of research had shown exercise could enhance the therapeutic effects of some treatments, including radiation therapy and drugs, by reducing side-effects and lowering the risk of secondary chronic diseases.