An association long suspected …

Half an hour of physical activity each day reduces the risk of tumors, especially the colon and breast. Conversely, overweight and obesity promote their occurrence. What if your sneakers proved to be the best anti-cancer weapon?

More sports = Fewer cancers

Overweight and obesity were known to be important providers of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But a large European study called Epic * proves today that they also promote the occurrence of cancers.

A mechanism that remains to be elucidated

For several years, the links between physical activity and protection against cancer have been mentioned. On the occasion of Eurocancer, Dr. Christine Friedenreich compiled the data from 180 epidemiological studies. All of them testify to a "convincing" risk reduction for colon cancer and breast cancer, "probable" for prostate cancer and "possible" for lung and endometrial cancer. At the same time, the excess weight is related to an increased risk of colon cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, endometrium, kidney and esophagus.

But in this research, the physical activity of cancer patients is primarily based on their memory: "Do you regularly exercise?", "How often?" ... Conversely, the Epic study Noted in nearly 50 000 Europeans between 35 and 70 years in good health different parameters (including physical activity) for more than 7 years. The habits of patients who have developed cancer are compared to those of patients who are unharmed. These prospective studies are considered more reliable but require more staff and more time. Presented at the European Congress on Cancer Eurocancer 2005, the very serious results of Epic are surprising in more ways than one!

The links between physical activity and cancer are confirmed but surprising in their magnitude. "In summary, it seems that physical activity, whether in professional life, recreation, and even at home, decreases the incidence of two cancers, colon cancer and breast cancer, In very large proportions, "confesses Prof. Michel Boiron, founding president of Eurocancer. Two diseases that affect each year 36 000 people and more than 40 000 women!

The Epic study shows that

It seems difficult to dissociate physical activity and overweight, as the sport allows to control the excessive intake of pounds. But that does not mean that thin people have nothing to gain by putting on their sneakers!

According to the authors, new recommendations should be made quickly, particularly with regard to physical activity, with a minimum of 30 minutes per day, moderate to strong intensity (fast walking, cycling, climbing stairs, gymnastics). It would seem that the ideal would be to do it alternately five times a week. Lastly, maintenance of a body mass index of less than 25 is to be monitored, including after menopause.

In 2003, the same European Epic study highlighted the importance of the diet, showing an appreciable reduction of about 30% in digestive cancers, especially colon, esophagus and stomach, in diets containing fresh fruits and vegetables, Meat and charcuterie, little sugars, especially animal fats and eggs.

Eating well, moving well ... So many messages that the Ministry of Health is trying to promote within the framework of the National Program Nutrition Santé and that we recommends you in our files "Fight against the overweight" and "I get back to sport! ".

The mechanisms by which this effect occurs is not well known. Several hypotheses currently coexist: hormonal changes (sex hormones, metabolic hormones), changes in growth factors or changes in immune function. Furthermore, a study is currently underway to determine whether physical activity has a positive effect on people treated for cancer.

* Epic for European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

- Eurocancer Press Conference 2005 (21-23 June 2005) - Eurocancer 2005, John Libbey Eurotext, Paris © pp. 203-214

For colon cancer, the most active people present a reduction in the risk of colon cancer by nearly 20%. In addition, an excessive waistline is linked to an excess of cancer that can exceed 40%, especially in men. For breast cancer, the risk of physical activity decreases by 30% between women More active and more inactive. Obesity after menopause is thus correlated with an over-risk of more than 30%!