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Fitness cuts female cancer rate - if not weight

Wednesday August 7th, 2013

Women who are overweight can cut their risk of a common female cancer dramatically by keeping fit, researchers report today.

The benefits are gained by women who undertake at least three hours a week of strenuous exercise, such as running or swimming, researchers found.

Researchers found the benefits of the exercise lasted for at least ten years.

The findings apply to women with endometrial cancer - which affects the lining of the womb - and come from a study of 94,000 women in California, USA.

Over a 12 year period some 976 of these women developed endometrial cancer.

Reporting in the British Journal of Cancer, the researchers say that among women who were overweight undertaking intense weekly exercise cut the risk of endometrial cancer by 47%.

Researcher Dr Christina Dieli-Conwright, of the University of Southern California, said: “Some previous studies have shown a reduced risk of womb cancer for women who are more physically active. But other studies have not shown a reduced risk.

“This important study supports existing evidence that suggests that taking up strenuous exercise could be a lifestyle change to help overweight and obese women reduce their risk of developing womb cancer.”

Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said: "This new study adds to the existing evidence that being physically active can help to reduce the risk of developing womb cancer."

She added: "Eating healthily and being active also work together to help you keep a healthy weight, but if you are very overweight it is wise to consult your doctor if you’ve not done intense exercise for some while."

Dieli-Conwright et al.Long-term and baseline recreational physical activity and risk of endometrial cancer: The California Teachers Study. BJC 7 August 2013

Tags: Cancer | Fitness | North America | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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