Physical inactivity raises bladder cancer risk

June 9, 2017

Researchers have observed an association between a lifetime of inactivity and higher risks for bladder and renal cancers.

Researchers have observed an association between a lifetime of inactivity and higher risks for bladder and renal cancers.

Their findings add to a growing body of evidence that physical inactivity could be an independent risk factor for cancer, according to the study, which was published in the International Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Detection, and Prevention (2017; 49:24-9).

Read: How do bladder Ca treatments compare in terms of survival?

Researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY conducted a hospital-based case control study of 160 renal cancer patients and 208 bladder cancer patients, compared to 766 age-matched controls without cancer.

They surveyed the more than 1,100 participants about their health and activity levels. Using multivariable logistic regression analysis, they found that inactivity increased bladder cancer risk by 73% and kidney cancer risk by 77%, independent of obesity.

Senior author Kirsten Moysich, PhD, MS, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, told Urology Times that this is the first study to examine physical inactivity in relation to risk of bladder and renal cancers.

Next: “Our results show that people have to do something-that it is bad for their health if they are completely inactive."

 

“We think it’s important because it is very difficult to get people to adhere to exercise recommendations and the recommendations vary by organization,” Dr. Moysich said. “Our results show that people have to do something-that it is bad for their health if they are completely inactive. There are many opportunities during the day to fit in a little exercise. Taking the stairs, taking a break and walk around the block a few times, parking far away from the store.”

The results didn’t surprise Dr. Moysich and her colleagues at all.

“We know that exercise is good for overall health and immune function,” she said. “Those who are inactive may be less likely to fight off an initial cancer cell that may have the opportunity to eventually form a tumor in the kidney and bladder. We have seen similar findings for cervical, lung, head and neck, and ovarian cancers, as well as lymphoma.”

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While more studies, using larger sample sizes and prospectively collected data, are needed to help confirm the findings, this study and others underscore the health benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle. There’s no harm in urologists taking a proactive approach of recommending their patients avoid living sedentary lives to lower their cancer risk.

“We love the take home message of this work: Doctors should encourage their patients to be more active. They don’t have to overwhelm them with unrealistic exercise goals, but they need to let them know that complete inactivity puts them at greater risk for cancer. Our slogan is: You have to do something,” Dr. Moysich said.

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