Study finds physical activity may be associated with improved outcomes for patients with advanced colon cancer

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New research has examined how different types and intensity of physical activity might impact the life span of patients undergoing postoperative treatment for stage III colon cancer.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was conducted by investigators at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For this research, scientists assessed 1,696 patients who had undergone surgery and chemotherapy to treat stage III colon cancer, evaluating the type of activity the patients engaged in, as well as the amount. They compared light and moderate physical activity, vigorous aerobic activity, brisk walking, and muscle-strengthening exercise for the study.

“Colon cancer survivors are generally told it is best to avoid inactivity,” said Justin Brown, PhD, Pennington Biomedical Cancer Metabolism program director in a statement. “However, many patients want specific guidance on the types of activity that can maximize their probability for cure. This study provides oncologists and their patients with information on exactly what type of activity will be most helpful in their goal of remaining alive and cancer free.”

Brown said that his team found that larger volumes of recreational physical activity, longer durations of light- to moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or any vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity were associated with the highest chances of remaining alive and cancer free.