The Risks of Bladder and Kidney Cancer: Time to Leave the Couch and Start Exercising.

If the scare of obesity and bad posture related health issues wasn’t enough, the latest finding connecting an inactive sedentary lifestyle with cancer risk is surely alarming enough for you to leave that couch and stand up to take notice. According to a 2017 study by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, couch potatoes who are the epitome of recreational inactivity stand at a greater risk of bladder and kidney cancer. Prolonged lounging on the sofa was never good for health and now studies have found that a life of lazing around was associated with 73% increase of bladder cancer risk and a 77% increase for kidney cancer.

The findings from this new study published in the International Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Detection, and Prevention, adds to the health concerns that an inactive lifestyle holds. The study included 208 bladder cancer patients, 160 kidney cancer patients, and 766 people without cancer. The survey monitored the health and activity levels of all the people in the dataset and using the multivariable logistic regression analysis found that the cancer risks were increased for inactive participants notwithstanding any obesity issues. The research was the first study showing the association of inactive lifestyle as a contributing factor towards renal and bladder cancer risks. It underlines the importance of physical activity along with a healthy lifestyle.

In the United States, almost one-thirds of the cancer deaths are due to a sedentary lifestyle which includes both breast and colon cancer. And most cancers are caused by lifestyle factors and not genes, therefore, moderate intensity workouts lasting as less as 30 minutes can sufficiently lessen cancer risk.

There are multitudes of studies linking physical inactivity with cancer risks. These are all observational studies that give clues about this association but do not definitively establish a cause and effect relationship. Physical activity has a number of biological effects on the body that can be viewed as possible explanations towards the association with cancer risks. For instance:

1. Exercise lowers the insulin and estrogen levels along with certain other growth factors that lead to breast and colon cancer development and progression.
2. Exercise decreases the risk of insulin resistance development.
3. Exercise reduces inflammations.
4. Exercise improves the immune system functionality, the first line of defense that fails in the wake of cancer cell threats.
5. Exercise positively affects metabolism, decreasing the gastrointestinal tract’s exposure to suspected carcinogens.

In the year 2016, a team of international researchers across the US and Europe, congregated and analyzed data from 12 studies which covered almost 1.44 million people and found that people who were physically inactive were susceptible to a higher risk of developing 13 out of 26 types of cancer. The researchers stressed that exercise has a positive and significant effect on reducing cancer risk, and therefore, it should be promoted as vital health effort to prevent cancer. This study with its huge dataset was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The moderate physical activity could be small adjustments in the lifestyle to keep abreast of all these cancer risks as well as for the total general well-being. These could include, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking the car farther away from the destination to include a bit of brisk walking, or the inculcation of walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. in the daily routine. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (US), 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity or exercising can have lasting benefits to the average well-being and good health.

In conclusion, people should recognize the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and rouse themselves into a more physical activity inclusive regimen. And this study should be potent enough to motivate people to get off the couch to better their chances at avoiding the cancer tag.

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