Exercise Does NOT Protect Smokers From Cancer

Exercise does not protect smokers from cancer

NEW YORK, Apr 12 (Reuters Health) - Male smokers who think walking, swimming or other physical activity will lower their risk of lung cancer are wrong, researchers say.

"The results of our study suggest that neither occupational nor leisure-time physical activity is associated with the risk of lung cancer in long-term cigarette smokers," write lead study author Dr. Lisa H. Colbert of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and her colleagues.

Colbert's team studied 27,087 Finnish men, aged 50 to 69 years, who between 1985 and 1988 smoked at least five cigarettes per day. Nearly 60% of the men were employed; the remaining 42% were older, had a longer history of smoking, had poorer diets, and were more likely to have been exposed, while working, to asbestos and other substances that put them at risk of developing lung cancer.

During the average 10-year follow-up period, 1,442 men were diagnosed with lung cancer, the authors report in the International Journal of Cancer.

Nearly 6 out of every 10 men reported participating in some type of leisure-time physical activity such as hunting, gardening or skiing. These men generally smoked fewer cigarettes per day and inhaled smoke less frequently than did their peers, the report indicates.

In general, however, neither leisure-time physical activity, nor occupational physical activity such as regular walking or lifting, was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer, the investigators found.

The one exception was among physically active men aged 50 to 56 years, who were reportedly 20% to 25% less likely to develop lung cancer than their sedentary peers, Colbert and colleagues note. No similar trend was observed among older men, they add.

SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer 2002;98:770-773.

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