New research found that middle-age men with a high fitness level seem to have lower risk for Lung and Colorectal cancer. The study entitled “Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Incident Cancer, and Survival After Cancer in Men: The Cooper Center Longitudinal Study” was published in JAMA Oncology by Susan G. Lakoski from the Vermont Cancer Center’s Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Vermont in Burlington, along with colleagues.
Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is the ability to partake in dynamic moderate- to high-intensity exercise involving large-muscle groups for prolonged periods of time. There has been a well-established inverse relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the association between CRF and occurrence of cancer or survival after diagnosis of cancer has received little attention.
The research team analyzed the correlation between CRF and occurrence of cancer and survival following cancer diagnosis in men 65 years or older. They analyzed 13,949 men with a CRF using a treadmill test between 1971 and 2009 and assessed lung, prostate and colorectal cancers using Medicare data from 1999 to 2009.
During a period of 6.5 years of observation, several patients among the 13,949 analyzed were diagnosed with prostate, lung and colorectal cancer — 1,310, 200, and 181 men, respectively. The researchers observed that high CRF in men 65 years or older was associated with 55% lower risk for lung cancer and a 44% lower risk of colorectal cancer when compared to men with low CRF. However, lower risk was not observed in cases involving prostate cancer, due to the fact that men with high CRF often undergo more frequent health check-ups and have higher probability of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The researchers found that high CRF was linked to a 32% lower probability of death due to cancer among individuals who developed lung, colorectal or prostate cancer when compared to men with lower CRF. Moreover, high CRF was linked to 68% reduction in cardiovascular disease death when compared to low CRF in men who developed cancer.
Dr. Susan G. Lakoski said in the news release that “this is the first study showing that CRF is a prognostic factor of organ-specific cancer occurrence, probability of cancer-associated death, or CVD after a cancer diagnosis.”
This study supports the usefulness of CRF evaluation in healthcare centers. Further studies are needed to evaluate the level of CRF required to avoid organ-specific cancer as well as addressing its effect in cancer diagnosis and mortality in women.