News & Insights 18 December 2019

Everyday activities shown to halve the risk of prostate cancer

A new study, has found that physical activity has a ‘far larger’ protective effect on prostate cancer than previously thought. Men who were most active on a daily basis had a 51% reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to the least active.

Importantly, these findings relate to overall physical activity, not just vigorous exercise. Anything that gets your body moving can help protect you against the disease.

The researchers, funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and Cancer Research UK, measured physical activity among 79,148 men who have prostate cancer and 61,106 who did not.

Dr Sarah Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Genetic Epidemiology at Bristol Medical School: Population Health Sciences, and senior author of the research, said: “This study is the largest-ever of its kind which uses a relatively new method that complements current observational research to discover what causes prostate cancer. It suggests that there could be a larger effect of physical activity on prostate cancer than previously thought, so will hopefully encourage men to be more active.”

Dr Anna Diaz Font, Head of Research Funding at WCRF, added: “Up till now, there has only been limited evidence of an effect of physical activity on prostate cancer. This new study looked at the effect of 22 risk factors on prostate cancer, but the results for physical activity were the most striking. This will pave the way for even more research, where similar methods could be applied to other lifestyle factors, to help identify ways men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer.”

Around 1 in 6 men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but, according to the WCRF, this risk could drop to 1 in 12 for men who are the most physically active.

There are different ways to harness the benefits of physical activity because it has multiple independent biologically-important dimensions. The personalised multidimensional physical activity profiles visualised in the KiActiv® system are crucial for the accurate evaluation of an individual’s physical activity and the creation of bespoke strategies for successful change. Through this we have evidenced an enhanced understanding and inspired confidence to change and optimise individuals’ physical activity for a longer, healthier life.

The KiActiv® Team