According to a team of researchers, they have identified how exercise can help lower your risk of getting bowel cancer and slow the growth of tumors. This research was published in the journal ‘International Journal of Cancer’.


Physical activity has been shown to release a cancer-fighting protein, interleukin-6 (IL-6) into the bloodstream that helps repair the DNA of damaged cells.


The research also sheds new light on the importance of moderate activity in the fight against life-threatening diseases and could help develop treatments in the future.


Dr Sam Orange, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at Newcastle University, said: “Previous scientific evidence suggests that more exercise is better for reducing bowel cancer risk because the more physical activity people do, the less likely they are to get sick.” Is. Our findings support this idea.”

“When exercise is repeated several times each week over an extended period, cancer-fighting substances – such as IL-6 – are released into the bloodstream, interacting with abnormal cells, repairing their DNA and causing cancer to grow. opportunity to reduce.” ,

In the small-scale study, which is a proof-of-principle, the team from the Universities of Newcastle and York St. John recruited 16 men aged 50-80, all of whom had lifestyle risk factors for bowel cancer, such as being overweight. or being obese and not physically active.

After providing an initial blood sample, participants cycled indoor bikes for a total of 30 minutes at moderate intensity and as soon as they finished pedaling, a second blood sample was taken.

As a control measure, on a separate day, the scientists took blood samples before and after the participants rested. Tests were conducted to see whether exercise changed the concentration of cancer-fighting proteins in the blood compared to the resting samples, and it was found that there was an increase in the IL-6 protein.

Scientists added blood samples to bowel cancer cells in a lab and monitored cell growth over 48 hours. They found that blood samples collected immediately after exercise showed a slower growth of cancer cells than those collected at rest.

Furthermore, along with reducing cancer growth, exercise blood samples showed reduced extent of DNA damage, suggesting that physical activity can repair cells to form genetically stable cell types.

“Our findings are really exciting because they reveal a newly identified mechanism underlying how physical activity reduces bowel cancer risk that is not dependent on weight loss,” said Dr. Orange.

“Better understanding of these mechanisms may help develop more precise exercise guidelines for cancer prevention. It could also help develop drug treatments that mimic some of the health benefits of exercise,” he said.

“Physical activity of any kind, and of any duration, can improve health and reduce the risk of bowel cancer but more is always better. People who are sedentary should start moving more and incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.”

Dr Adam Odell, Senior Lecturer in the Biosciences of York St John’s University, who was also involved in the study with Dr Alastair Jordan and Dr Owen Kavanaugh, said, “The important point is that it is not just bowel cancer risk that has been shown to lead to more Can be reduced by having an active lifestyle. Clear links exist between higher exercise levels and a lower risk of developing other cancers, such as cancers of the breast and endometrium.

“By creating a mechanism through which regular physical activity is able to produce anti-cancer effects, our study provides further support for current national and global efforts to increase exercise participation,” he said. Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 11 per cent of all new cancer cases. Around 42,900 people are diagnosed each year in the UK, up from around 120 per day.

It is estimated that physical activity reduces the risk by about 20 percent. This can be done by going to the gym, playing sports, or through active travel such as walking or biking to work, but also as part of household chores or chores such as gardening or cleaning.