Age-related Cancer risk and Physical ActivityMay 08, 2023
More than two thirds of newly diagnosed cancer cases occur in adults aged 60 years and older. The median age at the time of a cancer diagnosis is 66, and over half of all cancers are diagnosed in adults aged 70 and older. The most common age-related cancers are bladder, lung, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer.
There are many mechanisms that are thought to contribute to the link between age and cancer:
- Cumulative exposure to harmful environmental factors that can trigger DNA mutations that may lead to cancer development. These include chemical toxins, UV radiation, carcinogenic foods and beverages (I'm looing at you, processed meat, red meat, and alcohol!), lack of physical activity, and smoking.
- Compromised immune function as a result of ageing. Younger people tend to have stronger immune function, which naturally weakens with age.
- Increased exposure to sex hormones and growth factors, such as estrogen, which is linked to hormone-driven cancers (breast, endometrial, ovarian, and prostate).
One way of reducing your risk for the cancers listed above, as well as others, is through physical activity.
The research on the link between exercise and cancer risk is well-established and I wish more people knew about it!
You can lower your risk of several cancers by up to 50% through regular physical activity. Check out these statistics:
- Colon cancer: Individuals who exercise regularly have a 40-50% lower risk of colon cancer compared to those who don't exercise regularly!
- Breast cancer: Women who engage in moderate to vigorous exercise for more than 3 hours per week have a 30% to 40% lower risk of breast cancer (regardless of family history or genetic mutations).
- Endometrial cancer: Women who exercise regularly have an approximately 20% reduced risk of endometrial cancer.
- Uterine cancer
- Lung cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Gastric/stomach cancer: Individuals who exercise regularly have an approximately 18% reduced risk of gastric cancer.
But how does physical activity lower cancer risk?
- Prevents overweight and obesity, which is the second leading cause of cancer globally.
- Reduces the levels of sex hormones and growth factors that are linked with cancer development and progression.
- Prevents high blood levels of insulin, which is linked to cancer development and progression
- Reduces inflammation.
- Boosts immune function.
- Modifies the metabolism of bile acids, which are carcinogens that are linked to colorectal cancer.
- Reduces intestinal transit time (the time it takes for food to travel through the gastrointestinal tract), thereby reducing exposure of our GI tract to any carcinogens.
This brings me to the BEST part of this article, which is to introduce you to my good friend Angela Fischetti of Boomer and Beyond Wellness! Angela is a virtual fitness and yoga coach who specializes in fitness for seniors. Her approach to wellness is unique and profound...
Angela's focus is not only on getting the body moving and the heart pumping, but also on the healing power of mindfulness and whole food nutrition.
As an exclusive offer to my community members, Angela is offering $37.50 OFF your first virtual training or yoga session with her- all you have to do is mention that you read about this offer through me!
In the meantime, don't forget to move your body! Even if you aren't motivated to, try your best to attempt it anyway!
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are the following:
✅ 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity exercise per week (eg. brisk walking)
✅ 75 minutes to 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise per week (eg. running)
For individuals undergoing cancer treatment, an excellent form of exercise is rebounding (i.e. mini trampoline). It gets your heart pumping and blood flowing, while also supporting immunity by helping to move your lymph fluid.
Until next time, be well!
Your biggest cheerleader in health,